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Kano Online
July-August 2002

 Discussion FORUM
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Mission and Vision


In August 2002 a group of academicians and members of the Hausa entertainment industry in Kano, Nigeria,  got together to discuss the state of research on Hausa popular culture and media technologies, with particular reference to the Hausa home videos. It was meant to be a brainstorming session with various inputs from members overshadowed by the then current crisis in the non-marketability of Hausa home videos. Further, it was noted that there had been no systematic study of the phenomena from academic perspectives, at least by the practitioners themselves. A strong observation at this meeting was the increasing role of media technologies in popular culture and how Hausa urban communities are refining the concept of entertainment among the Hausa.

The group noted with concern lack of local input into the systematized researches  showing the relationship between Hausa culture and popular media as a vehicle of cultural preservation and transmission. In this regard, it was noted that some of the most significant advances in this area were made by our foreign Hausaist colleagues. All these researchers have published extensively on Hausa culture and language, and their works are heralded as authoritative accounts of Hausa popular media. Thus while the group acknowledges the immense contributions made by these foreign researchers, it sees these researches as challenges to stimulating local scholars into exploring other terrains of popular culture among the Hausa.

As a result of these observations, the group suggested a series of activities aimed at creating collaborative opportunities for research between local researchers, practitioners of popular culture (literature, music, film, indigenous knowledge etc) and international partners.

The first activity suggested was for the group to host an international conference on Hausa films with the themes of Hausa Home Videos: Technology, Economy and Society. It was initiated envisaged that the conference would take place in the first week of March, 2003. The group then became the Steering Committee, and right there and then, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu ( a cultural theorist and change analyst, was appointed Chairman of the Conference. Various committees were then created to organize the conference. A webpage was created to announce the conference on in order to create an international awareness for the conference.

However, at subsequent meetings of the Steering Committee it was suggested that the activity should be housed with a center, and that every two years the center should organize a seminar conference. As such the conference was converted to Center for the International Conference on Hausa Films. This, it was felt, will lend a certain academic focus to the activities of the Center and at the same time make it a formal organization. This was duly noted and approved and the Conference began to be organized around a Center.

Further discussions at the various committee levels, the idea of the center was further refined and another suggestion was given to convert the center into a full-fledged Center for Hausa Cultural Studies. This was to increase the scope of the center because it was felt that there are other interfaces of Hausa popular culture that might be left out if the center were to focus on films only. Thus other areas of Hausa popular culture such as music, literature, art, indigenous knowledge which are all facing challenges from media technologies would require systematic study and analysis. Based on these observations, it was decided to rename the center into a cultural studies center.

Mission and Objectives


The Center for Hausa Cultural Studies, a Non-Government Organization based in Kano, Nigeria, is intended to be an innovative, outcomes-focused and team-orientated group of researchers applies insights from cultural studies and related disciplines to the development of new knowledge of relevance to the critical and practical understanding of contemporary Hausa culture and society. The emphasis of the center would be on  independent, collaborative and interdisciplinary research with sustainable outcomes. Practice-oriented projects pertaining to concrete cases will also be undertaken using theoretical insights gained from cultural studies and related disciplines. Interrelated themes of cultural diversity and community relations will predominate, including: urban cultures and public space; art, culture and heritage; cultural dimensions of media and technology, and transnational connections.


Based on these observations, the following were envisaged as the major objectives of the Center for Hausa Cultural Studies.

(a)         to create an intellectual space for interdisciplinary discussions on contemporary Hausa  societies and cultures;

(b)        to foster research across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences; and

(c)         to build and nurture a scholarly collaborative interaction between popular media practitioners and researchers.

Center-sponsored activities will operate on three levels:

  •  stimulating new research directions;
  • educating students and the public;
  • networking.

The vehicles for these would be forum and conferences, film series, publications, outreach and community building. It is strongly emphasized that the center is not intended to be just a collection of theoretical academicians, but a focus for interactivity between local practitioners and academic researchers on the future directions of Hausa popular culture.

Thus the center will initiate, lead and co-ordinate research activities on Hausa popular culture and media technologies. It will organize period workshops on aspects of Hausa popular culture as they evolve so that they can be studied in stu.

In organizing seminars and workshop for youth media practitioners, it will liaise with a pool of professionals from each category of popular culture to become resource persons and consultants in administering its programs. Its activities will be published in an annual journal,  Journal of Hausa Cultural Studies, a newsletter, Al’adun Hausawa and a website, Center for Hausa Cultural Studies ( It will thus provide researchers with rich source of primary data on contemporary Hausa culture.

The center, when fully established, would have its target audience as youth. It is therefore envisaged that activities aimed at youth empowerment and youth advocacy would find a comfortable niche in the center.

Although the center would be hosted in Kano, it was felt that it should still hold is proposed international conference every two years in all the other States in the north, as funding improves, to neighboring Hausa countries such as Niger Republic, and countries with Hausa diaspora, such as Ghana, Senegal and Congo/Central African Republic.

Membership and Composition

As stated earlier, the center is an NGO, and would draw its membership from a community of Hausaist researchers – both nationally and internationally as well as field practitioner in film, music, literature, art, language, indigenous knowledge, social sciences, history, and health.

The center also envisages itself as a collaborative partner with local research institutions, in particular Bayero University (Center for the Study of Nigerian Languages, Nigerian Languages Department), Ahmadu Bello University (Arewa House and Center for Cultural Studies) and Usman Danfodiyo University (Nigerian Languages Department, and Center for Hausa Studies).

However, since the overall emphasis of the Center is on media technologies and Hausa popular culture, its main methodology is to strike a balance between academic patronage and street credibility. The outcome of this balance is to empower practitioners of Hausa media technologies to begin to systematize their activities so that they improve their delivery mechanism in a way that accurately captures of media technologies in Hausa cultural transmission and transformation.

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