As one of the UK’s most respected cultural leaders, Kenneth will lead the Africa Centre into an exciting new phase, including a major capital project and redefining us as the international centre for contemporary African culture, business and innovation. Under Kenneth’s direction the Africa Centre will continue to celebrate and showcase the richness of African and black British culture, challenging stereotypes and telling the diverse stories of Africa and its diaspora.
His appointment marks an exciting period of transformation for the Centre, and over the coming months, the Africa Centre plans to join the main building on Great Suffolk Street with a Performance Venue and The Hub, a flexible co-working space and accelerator for entrepreneurs and creatives, both contained within neighbouring railway arches. Additional facilities include a gallery, meeting and broadcast suite, the Africa Learning & Research Centre and a new café, opening onto the street, with a unique pan-African culinary offering.
Oliver Andrews, Chair of the Africa Centre, said:
“As the Africa Centre continues a period of reinvention and growth, we are delighted to appoint Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp as director. With extensive arts management experience, having served as Chief Executive of The Place for nearly a decade, Kenneth is one of the most respected and well liked cultural figures in the UK.
His vision for an Africa Centre that challenges the stereotype of a homogenous African continent and passion for telling the many diverse stories of its 54 nations and their diasporas, make him exactly the right person to lead the centre as it embarks on this exciting new chapter.
Building on the Centre’s 54 year legacy Kenneth will help create an Africa Centre that is not only the focal point for contemporary African and black British art and culture, but one that will provide crucial platforms for education, entrepreneurship and innovation relating to the African continent and its diaspora as well.”
Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp said:
“For over 50 years the Africa Centre has been a hugely important part of London’s cultural landscape, as a focal point for all things African and a home-from-home for Africans and people of African descent. I am thrilled at being given the opportunity to lead the Africa Centre through its next exciting phase of transformation and renewal.
The Africa Centre’s new home marks an exciting moment of development that in turn reflects changes happening across the African continent. Research published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2017 highlighted that: ‘of the 25 fastest growing economies in the world between 2004 and 2014, ten are African’.
Africa is on the move. Its status on the world stage as a 21st Century continent is increasingly important. The Africa Centre has a key role to play in making tangible the cultural richness and creative energy emanating from the African continent, and in sharing the vibrancy of its 54 nations and extensive diaspora, with as many people as possible.”
Kenneth is a key figure in the UK arts and culture scene with over 35 years professional experience in the sector. He began his career as a dancer; as one of the leading dance artists of his generation, he performed for 13 years with the internationally-acclaimed London Contemporary Dance Theatre and then with other leading companies during a 25 year career as a performer, choreographer, teacher and director.
From 2007 to 2016, he was Chief Executive of The Place, the UK’s leading centre for contemporary dance development, holding responsibility for the overall leadership, strategy and management of The Place and its 100 full time staff, while acting as the public face of the organisation and as an ambassador for its work.
He is a devoted champion of the arts, cultural learning, creativity and diversity, and frequently presents as a keynote speaker in a variety of contexts, from schools to leadership courses, industry related events and the corporate sector. He is a regular contributor to Speakers for Schools.
He has served on various arts Boards, including The Royal Opera House. He is currently a Patron of Akademi and The Place; a Trustee of New Adventures, the Chineke! Foundation and the Royal Opera House Benevolent Fund; and is a School Governor.
In September 2015 Kenneth was named among the London Evening Standard’s annual Progress1000 list of ‘The 1000 most influential Londoners’. He appears in eight successive Powerlists of Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage, as well as in Who’s Who. 2018 will be his third year serving on the judging panel of the Black British Business Awards.
In 2003 Kenneth was made an OBE in recognition of his services to dance, and in June 2017 was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, also in recognition of his service to dance.
Commenting on his appointment on social media, multi-award winning Colourful Radio, which is based at The Africa Centre, posted:
— Colourful Radio (@colourfulradio) May 10, 2018
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the neigbouring Young Vic said:
“The Africa Centre of old played a formidable role in my life. Shaping thought, exposing ideas and sometimes just simply a place of refuge. Under the leadership of the rather incredible Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp, the Africa Centre will be that and more to a whole new generation of people who wish to be inspired, lead, and ultimately connected to art and ideas in a 21st century way.”
Sophie Chandauka, Co-founder and Chair of Judges – The Black British Business Awards said:
“Rarely have I come across an individual such as Kenneth who commands tremendous respect from not only peers within the arts, but also community and business leaders alike. As a pan-African woman with deep roots in corporate finance and entrepreneurship, I believe he is the right person to maximise the opportunity of the Africa Centre to serve as a hub for the convening of innovators, business and thought leaders of all backgrounds to work together to advance the socio-political and commercial prosperity of the African continent.”
Others also added:
Warmly welcome the appointment of the brilliant @KennethTharp to be Director of @TheAfricaCentre. A passionate advocate who will build on the Centre’s vital role in supporting African culture, enterprise, art, music, & education in the UK https://t.co/9KWD9Bt175
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) May 10, 2018
— Kojo Steve Austin BCAa (@thekojostory) May 10, 2018
Congratulations to @KennethTharp, announced as the new Director of @TheAfricaCentre – a highly respected and inspirational leader who will take the Centre into an exciting new phase in its new home in Southwark https://t.co/kJzfLDq3Qz
— The Place London (@ThePlaceLondon) May 10, 2018
For more, visit: https://www.africacentre.org.uk
Related - press
Wishing you and loved ones a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year
01/01/2019 7AM | PRESS | More
Raphael Sofoluke and his team from UK Black Business Show take over Colourful Breakfast for New Years Day 2019
01/01/2019 7AM | PRESS | More
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year
23/12/2018 9AM | PRESS | More
The mayor stopped to speak to Serah Lister of Colourful Radio during his visit to Hillsong Christmas Carol
21/12/2018 10AM | PRESS | More
Podcast of the authentic voice on reggae music and the reggae community comes to Colourful Radio
08/10/2018 9AM | PRESS | More
Under Kenneth’s direction the Africa Centre will continue to celebrate and showcase the richness of African and black British culture, challenging stereotypes and telling the diverse stories of Africa and its diaspora
10/05/2018 12PM | PRESS | More
In a series of programmes, we are highlighting Orchid Male Cancer Awareness week. So tune in everyday at 10.20am for more or visit www.orchid-cancer.org.uk
09/04/2018 7AM | PRESS | More
Almost 400,000 young workers are expected to benefit from increases in the National Minimum Wage
09/04/2018 9AM | PRESS | More
BUFF 2018 Media Day at the Curzon Victoria
08/03/2018 10AM | PRESS | More
BEAUTY meets FASHION meets ART - A Celebration of Diverse Beauty and Entrepreneurism
23/02/2018 5PM | PRESS | More
The American born and UK-based multi-lingual singer/songwriter, presenter and event host joins Colourful Radio
11/02/2018 8AM | PRESS | More
Bright Star Awards recognises and celebrates the best of UK and international Soul and Reggae music and entertainment
12/01/2018 11AM | PRESS | More
Catch-up shows available normally within 30 minutes of end of show and 30 days to catch-up!
31/12/2017 3PM | PRESS | More
Your support ensured we remained relevant and on-point in 2017
18/12/2017 9AM | PRESS | More
Multi-award winning Colourful Radio launches on DAB across Glasgow from Wednesday 01 November 2017
01/11/2017 7AM | PRESS | More
Multi-award winning Colourful Radio has been nominated for Urban Music Awards 2017 in the category of 'Best Radio Station'.
01/11/2017 7AM | PRESS | More
Inspire & Connect Black Business Owners And Professionals UK Black Business Show 2017 Saturday 14th October
14/10/2017 9AM | PRESS | More
With input from Colourful Radio's founder, PMX Music alongside stable singer songwriter Tina Toplak created the latest Jingles for multi-award-winning Colourful Radio
25/07/2017 10AM | PRESS | More
The British Urban Film Festival has added to its roster of headline sponsors for this year's week-long event with the announcement of Heineken and Blind Pig Cider as official drinks sponsors and Colourful Radio as official radio sponsor.
13/06/2017 12PM | PRESS | More
Founder of British Urban Film Festival to host Meet The Critics, a new show about the movie business and the business of movies
15/05/2017 9AM | PRESS | More
Multi-award winning Colourful Radio welcomes Pat French and Wilfred Clarke to the station's revamped daytime schedule effective Monday 30 January, 2017
27/01/2017 7AM | PRESS | More
Multi-award winning Colourful Radio welcomes broadcaster Julie Ann Ryan to its coveted drivetime slot effective Monday 30 January, 2017.
27/01/2017 4PM | PRESS | More
COLOURFUL Radio & BUFF Celebrate Diversity & British Urban Film Industry
12/01/2017 10AM | PRESS | More
Tune in for an inspiring schedule of audio biographies featuring some of the greatest artists of our time
31/12/2016 7AM | PRESS | More
This Colourful Christmas day tune in and enjoy an inspiring line-up of The Greats
23/12/2016 10AM | PRESS | More
As the Africa Centre celebrates its new location in Southwark with the ‘Africa Pop-Up Shop’, Colourful Radio will broadcast the whole event LIVE across the globe from 6pm!
15/12/2016 6PM | PRESS | More
We are relocating to new studios at London's trendy and buzzing Bankside
13/12/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
Nomination for Urban Music Awards 2016 in the category of 'Best Radio Station'
21/10/2016 10AM | PRESS | More
Barking Mad is a comedic drama following the lives of a couple in their mid-thirties struggling to make ends meet in the craziness of a struggling town
22/09/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
A buzz chart counting down the hottest sounds from Africans based abroad
19/09/2016 10AM | PRESS | More
The special broadcast on Thursday 15 September from the iconic Channel 4 Television HQ is in support of British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) 2016
15/09/2016 1PM | PRESS | More
The LIVE broadcast on Tuesday 6th September from 7pm was in support of the wonderful people and community of Lambeth
06/09/2016 7PM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio is proud to announce that youth-focused Hype HQ Reality Radio is to join its roster. Hype HQ's first show will be on Saturday 6th August from 1pm.
04/08/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio, voted the UK's number 1 Urban radio station (Urban Music Awards 2015), broadcasts LIVE from iconic Channel 4 Television HQ in support of British urban Film Festival (BUFF) 2016.
21/07/2016 10AM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio, voted the UK's number 1 Urban radio station, welcomes comedian, MC, writer and actor Steve Hili and the dynamic DJ Sofire Sofine to its award-winning station.
19/07/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio, voted the UK's number 1 Urban radio station, welcomes celebrity life coach, relationship expert, and wellness consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams to its award-winning station.
18/07/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
London's 'Best Radio Station', Colourful Radio, is announced as media partner to OneLove Festival 2016.
20/06/2016 12PM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio has signed a deal with the British Urban Film Festival to broadcast live and exclusive coverage of BUFF's flagship events from the headquarters of Channel 4.
07/06/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio welcomes Travel Africa Radio Show to its award-winning roster
05/05/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
Tune in to The Dolor Factor Thursdays 9am on Colourful Radio
14/04/2016 9AM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio, voted the UK's number 1 Urban radio station, welcomes media personality Delia Dolor to its award-winning station
04/04/2016 8AM | PRESS | More
Colourful Radio voted the Best Radio Station at the Urban Music Awards enters a unique media partnership with Kush Promotions & PR and their renowned exhibition platform the ‘Film Boutique’, the UK’s longest running and No 1 urban film club'
01/03/2016 8AM | PRESS | More
After over a decade in business Ronke Lawal launched her business web series on YouTube in 2015 and is proud to announce that it will also be featured on colourfulradio.com
05/01/2016 7AM | PRESS | More
We wish you and yours a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2016
01/01/2016 7AM | PRESS | More
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas day, whatever your religious persuasion.
22/12/2015 7AM | PRESS | More
After over 770,000 online votes, the 13th annual Urban Music Awards celebrated nominees in 21 award categories at a plush London venue on Saturday 21 November 2015.
22/11/2015 7PM | PRESS | More
09/11/2015 7AM | PRESS | More
Lorraine King, experienced Journalist, avid vinyl collector, occasional DJ, mother of two, chatterbox who loves life and shoes, to host own peak time show on London's Colourful Radio.
30/10/2015 10AM | PRESS | More
Join the Colourful Radio crew Sunday 30 August broadcasting live from Notting Hill Carnival. If you can't be at Carnival, join us on-air at ColourfulRadio.Com and catch all the vibes that is Notting Hill Carnival
29/08/2015 1PM | PRESS | More