Nii has over ten years of experience as an academic, professional and activist focused on the use of theatre arts in the promotion and protection of the public health of disadvantaged populations. The Unity Festival is a unique opportunity to further pursue his interest in issues relating to environment, culture and the role of the creative arts and to bring to bear his experience in various capacities of supporting the arts and environment in Ghana.
Nii holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from the University of Ghana, Legon. As Nii explains: "My training in the arts as well as social sciences provides a strong interdisciplinary background to the festival. My studies have equipped me with the tools and skills needed to write research proposals, design and conduct research, as well as to analyse and disseminate research findings. I have acquired both practical and theoretical knowledge of initiating and managing research projects independently and to deadlines. In addition to my skills and existing knowledge, I bring a network of contacts developed through my work with schools and communities, which will strengthen the effectiveness and legitimacy of this festival.
"Through my professional experience I have honed my relevant research skills and gained experience of working directly with vulnerable groups on sensitive subjects. For example, I worked successfully as a Research Assistant for one and half years with the Regional Institute of Population (University of Ghana) on the Ghana Men’s Study, an integrated biological behavioural surveillance among men who have sex with men. Additionally, I have worked with prison inmates, female sex workers and with adolescents, at a school for the deaf. I have excellent skills in using techniques from Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal’s Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, which has informed creative and participatory approaches to data collection and analysis in previous research works on modern slavery and safeguarding in James Town.
"I am keen to bring to bear this wealth of experience to the festival, where I will be able to learn with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and share knowledge, experience and skills in order to widen my skills and knowledge in creative arts, community action and share best practice. Working with management and other team members will improve my teamwork and sharpen my writing/performance skills, and thus build my capacity as someone committed to working in this field.
"My demonstrated commitment to using arts and activism to improving communities’ lives makes me a suitable personnel for this project who will ensure that the proposed festival impacts positively on the community in Ghana, as well as on my own career."