Ghana ThinkTank is an international collective that “develops the first world” by flipping traditional power dynamics, asking the “third world” to intervene into the lives of the people living in the so-called “developed” world.
Ghana ThinkTank collects problems from communities throughout the USA and Europe, and sends them to think tanks they created in “developing” communities. The think tanks – which include a group of bike mechanics in Ghana, a rural radio station in El Salvador, Sudanese refugees seeking asylum in Israel, an artist collective in Iran, and a group of incarcerated girls in the Boston penal system, among others – propose solutions, which are then implemented in the “first world”.
Ghana ThinkTank’s innovative approach to public art reveals blind spots between otherwise disconnected cultures, challenges assumptions about who is “needy,” and turns the idea of expertise on its head by asking people in the “third world” to solve problems of people in the “first world.” This process helps people overcome their own stereotypes while being exposed to the stereotypes that other cultures have about them.
Ghana ThinkTank was founded in 2006 by Associate Professor of Sculpture and Director of the School of Art+Design Christopher Robbins, John Ewing and Matey Odonkor. Maria Del Carmen Montoya joined in 2009. The project began with think tanks in Ghana, Cuba, and El Salvador, and has since expanded to include Mexico, Iran, Serbia, Indonesia, Sudan and Morocco.
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