The African Market and Discovery Day

Traditional colourful clothing on an African market stall

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Join us for a day of hands-on workshops, demonstrations, performance and more for all the family

The African Market and Discovery Day

Join us at our African Market and Discovery Day packed with activities celebrating the themes from our West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition.

Free Drop-In Workshops

Bubbles FM
10.00 – 16.30
Entrance Hall

Lookman Sanusi will be broadcasting Bubbles FM live from the event all day. Join him for music, interviews and discussions inspired by the West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song exhibition.

The October Gallery
11.00 – 16.00
Entrance Hall

A creative workshop by The October Gallery explores contemporary West African Art using artists El Anatsui and Owusu-Ankomah as inspiration.  Come along and get creative in this fun art activity for all the family led by Alinta Sara.

African Head Wrapping / Head Tie and Bag Making Workshop

12.00 – 13.00

14.00 – 15.00

Entrance Hall

Join members of the African Cultural Association to learn quick and easy traditional ways of wrapping colourful textiles to create amazing West African headdresses. You can also try your hand at making vibrant bags.

Story Zone with Spora Stories
14.00 – 16.00

Sir John Ritblat Gallery: Treasures of the British Library

Join acclaimed writer Ade Solanke, popular oral storyteller Usifu Jalloh, and dynamic singer-songwriter Lanre Njoku for a fun trip around storytelling.


11.00 – 12.00

12.30 – 13.30

14.00 – 15.00

Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre

Artists James Bulley and Helen Frosi will create sounds using recordings from the Library’s collection and James' personal archive. Be inspired by West African music and sounds from nature. No musical training is needed and you are welcome to bring your own records, tapes and instruments to stoke the 'music pot’.

Stop-Motion Animation Workshop with Chocolate Films

11.00 – 13.00

Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre

Drop in to our animation workshop and bring your own characters to life.

IROKO Robics for Families

13.30 – 14.15

15.00 – 15.45

Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre

The IROKO Theatre Company will lead you in a fun music-making workshop involving African drumming, gentle movement, singing and chanting. 

The Sunjata Story: Glimpse of a Mande Epic – Film screening and Q&A

15.00 – 16.00

Conference Centre

Watch the life story of Sunjata Keita, the prince who founded West Africa's greatest empire almost 800 years ago. Passed down for generations through song, spoken recitation, and musical accompaniment on traditional griot instruments, this epic will be introduced by Marcia Ostashewski, the film’s producer.

The African Market by Open the Gate

Open the Gate has curated a collection of artists, makers and designers whose work is influenced by the cultures and traditions of West Africa.  Come along to see their work, buy gifts, or try your hand at some craft techniques.

Sapelle is a fashion and life style retailer, showcasing the very best of African contemporary design. They will also be running a workshop demonstrating kente and bolgatanga textile weaving.  

Fée Uhssi is an ethical luxury fashion label, her Wrap Me Up capsule collection is inspired by the Art of Wrapping. celebrates the creativity of the Artisans, Makers & Designers who draw their inspiration from Africa. 

JEKKAH make African inspired street-wear from 100% cotton African Wax Print materials, all sourced, designed and manufactured in The Gambia, using highly skilled local Gambian tailors.

Aso creates sweat-shop free fashion and accessories inspired by Africa.

Four Corners Interiors and MNBO Intulo Yana produce handmade fashion and soft furnishings inspired by Africa.

Mama-Sia provides organic, traditional beauty and well-being products, using raw materials predominantly sourced from West Africa.

Toghal produce eco-friendly hand-made gifts using unique contemporary textiles inspired by Africa.

Azawala stock a stunning and diverse array of unique contemporary African paintings and sculptures.

Honey Malaolu is a luxury women’s wear label specialising in a mixture of afro-centric casual wear, high end evening gowns and bridal wear.

O’Clara Boutique is a unique fashion and accessories label from the Ivory Coast showcasing traditional and contemporary handmade African fashion, leather shoes, bags and accessories for women and men. Visit the stall to try traditional head wrapping.

ALTERNATIVES offer a product range that translates African art and culture into everyday artefacts. The Alternatives collection includes delicately hand-crafted festive decorations, bespoke ornaments and fashion accessories.

African Musical Instruments is a children's book written and illustrated by graphic designer Natalie Cooper. It includes 21 full colour illustrations of instruments from Africa with information on each and an introduction to the role of music in Africa and African culture.

E & G Designs produce children's clothing, matching accessories, toys and gifts in distinctive African fabric.

Open the Gate Handmade produce accessories in London and Gambia using up-cycled fabrics, screen-print, dyes and plastic bags.

Barka Wusgo present paintings by Burkinabè artist Jamal Tiemtore and the photographs of Lhyza Libertad.

Gitas Portal specialises in contemporary African inspired clothes and accessories.  

AfroNeckties offer handmade neckties and accessories infused with African history, culture and tradition.

Tribal Pieces is a fashion house born out of a passion for fine, hand crafted materials and exotic tribal art, launching their first collection at Africa Fashion Week in 2015 where they showcased their luxury silk scarves and shawls range.

Yorubatik produce fashion celebrating the beauty, history and culture of Africa by fusing contemporary designs with the rest of the world.

Open The Gate is a London-based cultural organisation that aims to promote a positive and contemporary image of African & Diaspora arts, crafts, music, design and cultures - and organizes regular Live Music concert, workshops and The African Market. Open The Gate helps raise funds for the Brufut Education Project: a skill centre located in the town of Brufut in the Gambia, West Africa.


Name: The African Market and Discovery Day
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546