Many governments devote sizeable budgets to creating and promoting a favourable image internationally – and often they are aided by non-governmental organizations and initiatives pursued by arts, civil society or private sector groups. But many African countries must contend with an international image that is both negative and apparently beyond their control. Who gets to create and define ideas and images of Africa and how do they do it? Have dominant images begun to shift as new actors – most notably China, India, Brazil – bring alternative approaches to the continent? What space is there for Africans to shape their own international image? Which Africans are best-placed to do this, and in what ways?
Papers might deal with questions about:
• African arts and culture and the ways they shape international images of Africa
• African states' international public diplomacy initiatives
• African diasporas' shaping of images of Africa
• African political leaders' self-presentation and the ways these can influence relationships with donors
• regional African organisations projection of alternative images of Africa
• the ways in which Chinese, Indian or Brazilian ideas of Africa might be shifting international images of the continent.
Other ideas that fit with the broad themes are very welcome, both those dealing with specific African countries or the continent more broadly.