Episode 9: How the Dikan Center is Building the First Photo Library in Ghana #Podcast #AfricanCities #UrbanLimitrophe #TheDikanCenter #VisualStorytelling

In this episode, I speak with Paul Ninson, a photographer, and filmmaker about the importance of visual storytelling and how after collecting over 30,000 books on photography and film, he is in the beginning stages of building The Dikan Center. The center will be the first visual storytelling library in Ghana. The Dikan Center will train not only the next generation of storytellers but build a community hub that welcomes locals and newcomers alike to learn about, celebrate, and create African stories and flip the dominant, negative narrative about life on the continent.  

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • Paul's vision for the center and the programming it will provide,
  • the upcoming photography exhibition,
  • how he collected over 30,000 books to start the Dikan Center,
  • how the center will be an incubator for talent as well as community,
  • opportunities to get involved with getting the center built and learning/teaching about visual storytelling,
  • and much more!

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This episode is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Department of Geography and Planning. 

The School of Cities "convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just". To learn more about the School of Cities visit www.schoolofcities.utoronto.ca

To learn more about the Department of Geography and Planning and the different undergraduate and graduate programs available please visit www.geography.utoronto.ca.

Guest: Paul Ninson

Paul Ninson is a  photographer and a filmmaker born in Kumasi, Ghana but currently in New York. He has a degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Industrial Art. He started his photography career four years ago as a medium of expression and to solve problems.
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Follow the Dikan Center on:


  • 04:22 | Introduction to Paul Ninson
  • 04:54 | What is the Dikan Center?
  • 05:42 | Paul's journey to getting the center started
  • 07:07 | Paul's process of collecting over 30,000 books
  • 07:44 | Where the book donations came from?
  • 08:38 | Why is having a center dedicated to visual storytelling in Africa so important?
  • 11:50 | What programming will the Dikan Center have and how the center will be a community hub in Ghana?
  • 16:13 | Details about the upcoming exhibition that the Dikan Center will host
  • 18:34 | How the Dikan Center's design is inspired by the Akrofonmu symbol and traditional ways of storytelling?
  • 21:15 | What is it about Accra that makes it the perfect site for the Dikan Center?
  • 22:57 | How local Accrans will be involved in the development of the center
  • 23:58 | What kind of supports, partnerships, and/or policy changes would be beneficial for non-profits like the Dikan Center to establish additional community centers?
  • 26:15 | What's next for the Dikan Center?
  • 28:04 | How can people get involved with the Dikan Center?
  • 32:12 | Where the 30,000+ books are being held during the construction period?

Show Notes

Want to learn more? Check out this episode's references!

Africa No Filter. (2021). How African Media Covers Africa. Africa No Filter. Retrieved from https://africanofilter.org/uploads/files/How-African-Media-Covers-Africa_Report.pdf

Blakley, J., Rogers, A. A., Watson-Currie, E., & Jung, K. (2019, January). Africa in the Media. The Africa Narrative. Retrieved from https://learcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/africainthemedia.pdf

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Episode 9: How the Dikan Center is Building the First Photo Library in Ghana #Podcast #AfricanCities #UrbanLimitrophe #TheDikanCenter #VisualStorytelling
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