Facing the Face of the Other

The Case of the Nia Centre


In 1991 the Nia Centre for African and Caribbean Culture opened in Manchester, in the inner city area of Hulme. Not only was it exceptional as the first large-scale, black-led arts centre in Europe; it was also notable that such an ambitious artistic venture linked to a black community should come to fruition in a regional city rather than in London. Nia was established in a refurbished Grade II-listed Edwardian theatre, where the contemporary structural features and striking colour scheme of the interior design harmonised with the historic origins of the building to produce a dynamic and celebratory visual expression of African cultural heritage. Created to present and promote performances by black artists of national and international repute, the project was the result of £1.3 million investment and twenty years of local community activity. Within six years, however, the good will and optimism which had driven the founding vision proved unequal to rapidly emerging obstacles to success. The dream collapsed. Nia ceased trading and closed its doors in 1997.


City Council Black People Exogenous Condition National Front Black Artist 
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© Claire Cochrane 2016

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