Work by: Siaka Soppo Traore 2016. Courtesy MaM Gallery – AtWorkDouala Partner 2017

What is the podcast about?

As the Moleskine Foundation’s vision is to inspire a new generation of creative thinkers and doers, this podcast aims to equip all of us with new perspectives and unconventional ideas to amplify our creativity, critical gaze and imagination.
We engage in conversations with unique creative minds from all over the world, to explore and expand our understanding of creativity and its transformative power.
Each episode sparks from a selection of 3 keywords, chosen by our guest speakers. They serve as a compass, helping to orientate the conversation through art, entrepreneurship, literature, philosophy, politics, and social activism.

100% of the patronage raised through this podcast will serve to support our program and initiatives. If you’re interested in its patronage, please contact us at

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Season 1


What is beyond the common notion of creativity and how can it serve us? How can creativity benefit our journey? How can it contribute solving important social issues like education, inequalities or racial injustice?


Moky Makura

TV presenter, producer, author, publisher, successful entrepreneur, Executive Director of Africa No Filter
– October, 2020


How important is for black Africans, to change Africa’s narrative – Moky Makura

”If you want to change the world, first, you have to change the narrative of the world”, and this is especially relevant for Africa, where it is crucial to stop perpetuating the false narratives that for too long have been mutilating the Continent, and free its full potential. “Storytelling is the way we form opinions about each other, and we feel better in telling stories but we need to be sure that these stories are in the right places” says Moky Makura, Executive Director of African No Filter, a donor collaborative organization focused on shifting the African narrative – “when you start challenging people on a story, people react”.

Keywords: African – Agency – Stories
@MokyMakura on Twitter

Read the conversation on Medium platform

Bio: Moky Makura was born in Nigeria, educated in England and has lived in London, Johannesburg and Lagos.
She is the Executive Director of Africa No Filter, a donor collaborative focused on shifting the African narrative. Prior to that she was the Deputy Director for Communications Africa at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she was responsible for building and managing the foundation’s reputation on the continent. In 2017 she took on interim role as the foundation’s Country Representative to South Africa responsible for government relations and internal program coordination. Before joining the Gates Foundation, Moky worked as Communications Director for the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Nigeria. Prior to that she was a well-known TV presenter, producer, author, publisher and a successful entrepreneur in her own right. Moky holds an Honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University in the UK. As part of her passion to present a positive image of Africa and showcase its heroes and achievements, she created one of the first websites to serve as a repository of positive facts about the continent… Moky started and runs the first storytelling networking event for women called Herstory Joburg. She serves on the advisory boards of three non-profits including Junior Achievement Africa and the Houtbay Partnership. Moky was recently appointed to the board of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.


Heba Y. Amin

multi-media artist, researcher and lecturer, cofounder of the Black Athena Collective and a Field of Vision fellow in NYC
– October, 2020


Unlearning Colonialist’s Education to find your truth – Heba Y. Amin

How can artworks become means to explore new narratives? How much can technology help with the development of critical thinking?
This episode with Heba Amin, a Berlin-based multi-media artist, researcher and lecturer, talks about the artist’s role in society, the ambivalent nature of technology, and her quest for personal and social transformation through art.

Keywords: Re-learning – Intervention – Subversion

Read the conversation on Medium platform

Bio: Artist Heba Y. Amin (b. 1980, Cairo) is a Berlin-based multi-media artist, researcher and lecturer who looks at the convergence of politics, technology, and architecture. Her works and interventions have been covered by the New York Times, Guardian, Intercept, and CNN, among others. She has had recent solo exhibitions at the Mosaic Rooms (London 2020) and the Center for Persecuted Arts (Solingen 2019) as well as Böttcherstrasse Prize Exhibition (Bremen 2018), 10th Berlin Biennale (Berlin 2018), 15th Istanbul Biennale (Istanbul 2017), 11th African Biennale Photography (Bamako 2017), and 12th Dak’Art Biennale (Senegal, 2016). Amin is the cofounder of the Black Athena Collective and a current Field of Vision fellow (NYC). She also has an extensive repertoire in public speaking and was recently awarded the Sussmann Artist award for artists who are committed to the ideals of democracy and anti-fascism. Furthermore, Amin is one of the artists behind the subversive graffiti action on the set of the television series Homeland, which received worldwide media attention.

Uzodinma Iweala

eclectic creative, award-winning writer, filmmaker, medical doctor, and CEO of The Africa Center in New York
– November, 2020


Building inclusive cultural institutions – Uzodinma Iweala

“When you have people generating or creating in silos, you get a lot of the foolishness that we see happening right now. You get policy prescriptions that are completely lacking in their creativity because they can’t imagine the future of the continent, and Africa suffers from this a lot” said Uzodinma Iweala, eclectic creative, award-winning writer, filmmaker, medical doctor, and – above all – CEO of The Africa Center in New York, where he created an inclusive and diverse cultural space that puts Africa and its diaspora on the cultural map in the heart of the city. Listen to the stories he shares with us through his three keywords.

Keywords: Political – Empathetic – Power-Conscious

Read the conversation on Medium platform

Bio: Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa and is Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil(2018), a novel about a queer first-generation Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications like The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and The Paris Review among others. Uzodinma was also the founding CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector investment in health services and health innovation in Nigeria. He sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, The International Rescue Committee and the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Sebabatso Manoeli

Senior Director for Strategic Programmes, Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, Columbia University
– October, 2020


Inner solid structures as the foundation to achieve beauty and justice – Sebabatso Manoeli

“Beauty, justice, and structure”, three words that are part of the personal and political mission to impact society by Sebabatso Manoeli, Senior Director at Columbia University for the Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity program, and also in charge of the podcast “Race Beyond Borders”.
Manoeli shares her vision on how beauty relies on structure, as well as social change requires a structure: an inner and powerful structure that allows us to endure challenging times. On top of this inner structure, when individuals work together as teams, they use structures to bring about the kind of change they envision
“We make sense of the world through narrative: something has a start, a middle, and an end, and that narrative shapes all of our logic, our thinking, our doing – said Manoeli – the power of these ideas of beauty that drives justice or creativity for social change is the narrative potential of it all.”

Keywords: Justice – Beauty – Structure
Follow her podcast “Race Beyond Borders” by Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity
@Smanoeli on Twitter

Read the conversation on Medium platform

Bio: At Columbia University, she serves as a Senior Director for Strategic Programmes, Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity – an innovative leadership development programme designed to combat anti-Black racism in South Africa and the United States. Dr Manoeli is also author of Sudan’s “Southern Problem”: Race, Rhetoric and International Relations.
Previously, at the Cape Town-based DG Murray Trust, a public innovator and strategic investor operating at the nexus of public policy and development practice, Dr Sebabatso Manoeli served as Acting Deputy CEO and Innovation Director.
Sebabatso has worked in the fields of politics, academia and development practice. She worked on Transitional Justice and Governance for the Department of Political Affairs at the African Union Commission as a consultant.
In academia, she taught both Masters and Undergraduate students. Most recently, she was a Departmental Lecturer in African History at the University of Oxford, where she was the first African woman faculty member. She has also a Lecturer at Stanford University’s Bing Centre for Overseas Studies and a Teaching Fellow at the University of Fort Hare Institute of Social and Economic Research (FHISER).
At the economic policy advisory firm, the Brenthurst Foundation, she was awarded the Machel-Mandela Fellowship, there, her research focused on Lesotho’s textile industry and Chinese SMMEs in five African countries. She has provided research support for the Dynamics of State Failure and Violence project at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, and the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations.
Her passion for leadership development on the continent led her to work at the Africa List at the CDC Group in London, where she focused on private sector leadership in ten African countries, and at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg. She was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she earned a DPhil in History and an MSc in African Studies. At Amherst College, where she earned a BA in Political Science and Black Studies, Sebabatso was a Mandela Scholar. Dr. Manoeli is also a Senior Fellow of the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, and a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow.
Follow her podcast “Race Beyond Borders” by Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, about raising new questions about race & Blackness beyond geographical divides.

Raphael Chikukwa

art curator, artist and activist, Executive Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe
– October, 2020


Art as a tool for liberation – Raphael Chikakwa

How can creativity and art contribute to the history of a Country and shape local communities? Why Chimurenga as « revolution of the mind » lays the foundation for Zimbabwe’s new history?
Raphael Chikakwa, a Zimbabwean artist and activist, Executive Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, guides us through the history of his Country – economic struggles, political instability, and regional violence since the 1960s – through the lenses of creativity and activism. He quotes “every revolution starts from the revolution of the mind” and art can be a form of revolution.

Keywords: Chimurenga – Remix – Fertile ground

Read the conversation on Medium platform

Bio: Born in Zimbabwe, Chikukwa Raphael is the Executive Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He joined the National Gallery mid 2010 as the Chief Curator of Contemporary Artand Deputy Director. Previously he had worked mainly as an independent curator. Chikukwa is the founding Curator of the Zimbabwe Pavilion curator at the 54th Venice Biennale 2011 and just curated After Shock: Re Imagining life after Cyclone Idai 2020…
His qualifications and international experience earned this position at the national institution, which he hopes to change the visual arts landscape of Zimbabwe.
The 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in1997 provided an impetus to Raphael’s curatorial career after working as a volunteer guide for the Biennale. He later moved to his home country Zimbabwe as a process of relocation to his motherland. Chikukwa is a founding stuff member of the PUMA funded Creative Africa Network as an editor and advisor of the project from 2008–2009. In 2008, Chikukwa represented Africa at the 2008 Art Basel Miami Conversations in the United States of America. The American Centre Foundation also awarded Raphael a curatorial research grant in 2006–2007 and he travelled in West Africa for his curatorial research.

Season 1
Bonus Episodes


These episodes are a collection of live talks that were recorded during the first European lockdown, where we explore how creativity could be critical for individual and social resilience, especially in a challenging context of isolation due to the pandemic.


Simon Njami

Co-creator, advisor and conductor of AtWork Educational Program
– April, 2020


Reality is the best fiction – Simon Njami

This episode is about the perception of words, and their light and shadows, we’ll talk about the challenge to rediscover their deeper meaning, their true light within. Words lose their meaning when deprived of their shadows, and become mere slogans.
Words are important because they are the building blocks of our thoughts, and now – during this pandemic – more than before, new words such as confinement or mask have become very common and familiar to everyone. Confinement seems to be THE word of the moment, but confinement could be something different than punishment. And the masks we need to wear could become a communication tool, an invitation to stay behind them and discover more…

Keywords: Confinement – Mask – The Other.

Simon_Njami on Wikipedia

Bio: Simon Njami is a Paris-based independent curator, lecturer, writer and art critic.
Njami was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art. He has served as artistic director of the Bamako photography biennale and as cultural advisor for the AFAA (today Institut Français) in their cultural cooperation policy.
He was member of numerous art and photography juries (10 years at Worldpress). He co-curated the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007.
He has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary art and photography worldwide. As well as member of the scientific boards of numerous museums.
Njami has published seven books, including essays and novels.


  • Soren Kierkegaard,Traité du désespoir
  • Jean Paul Sartre, L’existentialisme est un humanisme
  • Micheal Foucault, Surveiller et punir
  • Emmanuel Levinas, L’autre comme visage
  • François Jullien, L’écart et l’autre
  • Roland Barthes, La chambre claire
  • Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos
  • Arthur Rimbaud, Poésies

Roberto Casati

Professor, Senior researcher, philosopher of the cognitive sciences – April, 2020

A new mindset for an institutional change – Roberto Casati

How can we prevent disorientation in terms of getting lost? We need to be super resilient and ready for the next crisis, and it would be possible only by adopting new behaviour and mindset” said Roberto Casati, Senior Researcher with CNRS, professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Director of Institut Jean Nicod in Paris, working at the boundary of philosophy and cognitive sciences.

Keywords: Institutional Creativity – Disorientation – Super Resilience.

Bio: Roberto Casati is a senior researcher with the French CNRS and professor at EHESS, and currently the director of Institut Jean Nicod in Paris. A philosopher of the cognitive sciences, he has made contributions to the study of visual and auditory objects and of spatial representation. His latest book, The Visual World of Shadows, with Patrick Cavanagh, was published in 2019 by MIT Press. His work on Digital Colonialism has spurred debate in France and Italy. He is currently working on cognitive artifacts and spatial disorientation.


Lwando Xaso

lawyer, writer, Historian and Moleskine Foundation Collection Author – April, 2020


South Africa: a model for resilience? – Lwando Xaso

In times of deep crisis, we often look at South Africa as a model for resilience, considering how much of it the country proved to have through its history. “What  happened in South Africa is that we are constantly dealing with a vanishing present, and we use history to eradicate that haziness, but history cannot survive without memory. One of the advantages of today is that we have social media which can hold people’s memories and archives” says Lwando Xaso, one of South Africa’s leading constitutional lawyers, writer and human rights activist.

Keywords: Memory – Sanitization – Transition

Bio: Lwando Xaso, one of South Africa’s leading constitutional lawyers, writer and human rights activist. A self-described “student of change”, Lwando currently works for Constitution Hill Trust, the main partner for the Moleskine Foundation’s WikiAfrica Education program. In 2011 she had the privilege of clerking at the Constitutional Court for Justice Edwin Cameron. She later worked as a senior researcher for the Public Service Remuneration Review Commission in 2013, and was also a researcher to former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.

Lwando frequently writes on topics of constitutional and international law for the Daily Maverick, the Business Day and various other publications. She also a trustee of the Constitutional Court Trust, and the founder of Including Society – a forum established to explore issues around inclusion in the private sector.

Last book:Made in South Africa: A Black Woman’s Stories of Rage, Resistance and Progress”, 2020.



  • Lauren Segal, Clive van den Berg and Churchill Madikida – Mapping Memory: Former Prisoners tell their Stories (Book)
  • Prof Gabriel Motzkin – Memoirs, Memory and Historical Experience (Journal article)


  • Tshepo Madlingozi – Taking Stock of the South African Truth and Reconciliation 20 Years Later – No Truth, No Reconciliation and No Justice
  • Lwando Xaso – Truth in Jeopardy as Past Recedes

Elena Cologni

Senior Research Fellow at the Cambridge School of Art – May, 2020


Art as a caring practice: new connections for social transformation – Elena Cologni

Caring can be considered in the practical sense of hands-on ‘caring for’, then in the emotional and ethical sense of ‘caring about’, and in the context of the dialogic strategy adopted in my creative work: ‘caring with’…” said Elena Cologni, interdisciplinary artist – drawing, performative and dialogic sculpture – Senior Research Fellow at the Cambridge School of Art, Humanities and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University Distance Learning.

Keywords: Care – Dialogic – Place.

Bio: Elena Cologni lives and works in Cambridge, UK, where she is Senior Research Fellow at the Cambridge School of Art, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (Anglia Ruskin University).

Cologni gained a BA in Fine Art from Accademia di Belle Arti Brera in Milan, an MA in Sculpture from Bretton Hall College, Leeds University and a PhD in Fine Art and Philosophy from University of the Arts, Central Saint Martin’s College, London, 2004 (CSM).

Cologni was Post Doctorate Research Fellow at CSM (2004/06 funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council), Research Fellow at York Saint John’s University (2007/09), and contributed to the Creativities in Intercultural Arts Network (University of Cambridge) (2013/2016), addressing: research as art practice methodologies, documentation of ephemeral art as the work participatory/dialogic approach, in(ter)disciplinarity.

Relevant projects:
Seeds of Attachment, 2016/18 (Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, Applied Social Science Group, University of Cambridge, New Hall Art Collection, Freud Museum London), with funding from Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England.

CARE: from periphery to centre, 2018, Homerton College, Cambridge (250th Anniversary Artist Fellowship), with Moleskine Foundation Practices of care, on finding the cur(v)e, 2020/21 funded by British Council International development fund, Arts Council England Covid19 emergency fund.


  • Susan Buckingham, Gender and Environment, Routledge, 2020
  • Laura Cima, Franca Marconin, Ecofemminismo in Italia, 2017
  • Cologni, E. 2016. ‘A Dialogic Approach for The Artist as An Interface in An Intercultural Society’. In Burnard, Mackinlay, Powell, The Routledge International Handbook of Intercultural Arts Research New York, London: Routledge
  • Eze, M. O. Intellectual History in Contemporary South Africa, pp. 190–191 (Palgrave, 2010)
  • Grant Kester, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, (University of California Press, 2004).
  • Virginia Held, Ethics of Care, Personal Political and Global (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006
  • Doreen Massey, ‘Power-geometry and a progressive sense of place’, in Mapping the Futures, ed. by John Bird et al. (London: Routledge, 1993), 59-69.
  • Linda McDowell, ‘Spatializing feminism: geographic perspectives’, in Bodyspace: Destabilizing Geographies of Gender and Sexuality, ed. by Nancy Duncan (London: Routledge 1996), 28-44
  • Patrick D. Murphy, ‘Prolegomenon for an Ecofeminist Dialogics’, in Feminism, Bakhtin, and the Dialogic, ed. by Dale M. Bauer and Susan Jaret McKinstry, Albany: State of New York, 1991
  • Nel Noddings, Caring: A Feminine Approach To Ethics And Moral Education, Berkeley: University Of California Press, 1986
  • David Seamon, ‘Place attachment and Phenomenology: The Synergistic Dynamism of Place’ in Place Attachment: advances in Theory Methods and research ed. by Lynne C. Manzo and Patrick Devine-Wright (New York: Routledge, 2013)

Benjamin Sainte-Clémentine

British artist, poet, vocalist, composer, and musician – May, 2020

It’s not true that only when the door is locked nobody enters – Benjamin Clementine and Simon Njami

« I am alone in a box of stone. When all is said and done. As the wind blows to the east from the west. Unto this bed, my tears have their solemn rest… It wasn’t easy getting used to this I used to scream. It’s not true, that it’s only when the door is locked that nobody enters ».

This episode has been inspired by the lyrics of the song « Cornerstone » by Benjamin Clementine, English artist, poet, vocalist, composer – who invented his own dramatic and avant-guard musical dimention – here in conversation with Simon Njami, writer, art critic and, above all, our AtWork Educational Program advisor.

Keywords: Door – Cornerstone – Aftermath.

Benjamin Clementine on Wikipedia

Bio: Benjamin Sainte-Clémentine is an British artist, poet, vocalist, composer, and musician. Clementine’s debut album At Least for Now won the 2015 Mercury Prize. In February 2019 he was named a knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government, in recognition of his contribution to the arts.

Born and raised in London, England, Clementine later moved to Paris, France, becoming homeless as a teenager. There, his performances helped him to become a cult figure in the music and art scene. Moving back to London, he made his TV debut on the BBC programme Later With Jools Holland in 2013. A number of critics described him as becoming one of the great singer-songwriters of his generation and the future sound of London, whilst struggling to place his music in any one genre.

Considered by The New York Times as one of the 28 geniuses who defined culture in 2016, Clementine’s compositions are musically incisive and attuned to the issues of life but also poetic, mixing revolt with love and melancholy, sophisticated lyricism with slang and shouts, and rhyming verse with prose monologues. He moved to popular art music, breaking free from traditional song structure, inventing his own dramatic and innovative musical territory.


  • in Patagonia (Bruce Chatwin)
  • Giovanni’s Room (James Baldwin)