TMG Think Tank for Sustainability


RISE Africa Action Festival 2022

Inspiring Action for Sustainable Cities

Rise Africa brings together thinkers, doers, and enablers from across the continent and the world to inspire action for sustainable cities.

At the heart of RISE Africa is an annual event convened around Africa Day and focused on critically and enthusiastically demonstrating how to make our urban imaginaries real – and how to forge ideas into action.

At this year's RISE Africa Action Festival 2022 we are hosting a session together with Food Agency Cape Town (FACT) on 'The poetics of urgency: blending emotional agency into our storying of urban research'.

What happens when the research we produce becomes emotionally detached from the realities it represents? Food security pondered upon by those who have never known hunger, housing by the homed.

Without art, statistical data often lacks agency in the corridors of the soul: our processes become clinical and our responses half-hearted, disconnected and unoriginal. For so long we have been faced with the duality of art and science, and within the sciences, the age-old decisions around quantitative and qualitative research. However, increasing recognition is given to the integration of disciplines and the critical role art has to play in urban innovation and transformation processes.

The RISE Africa session hosted by FACT and TMG explores these notions of emotional integrity, data agency, and urgency in urban research processes. This probes the interplay between the deeply subjective/emotive and more traditional forms of qualitative and quantitative research communication.

In the tradition of oral story-telling, we invite a group of local poets and artists into a reflective engagement with an urban food security research-process lead by FACT in Cape Town. This invitation seeks out a new telling of the findings and will take place in the weeks leading up to the Action Festival. This preparatory process will culminate in a multi-lingual book of poetry to accompany the original research report. 

Our session at the Action Festival will then offer two presentations of the same set of data: Our original research report, and a live reading of selected poems (and artworks?) by the poets themselves. This will be done in the spirit of celebrating a dualistic forms of representation, rather than attempting to advocate for one form over another.

FACT members, poets, and artists engaging in a process of creative story-telling leading up to the Festival session

This will be followed by an open facilitated discussion on emotional agency in urban research and policy processes: How do we use creative processes to enhance the emotional agency of our work and in so doing come to a truer sense of urgency? What are our obligations as urban researchers to the subjective realities of the processes we study? How do we foster emotional intelligence, sensitivity, and honesty in urban research processes? What happens when we become data numb? Where are the boundaries between good research and sensationalism? What practices have others found effective in their work?

To join us on 25 May 2022 register here:




ICLEI Africa

RISE Africa Action Festival 2022

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TMG Think Tank for Sustainability consists of TMG Research gGmbH, an independent, non-partisan, non-for-profit organization registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 186018 B, USt.-ID: DE311653675) and TMG - Töpfer, Müller, Gaßner GmbH, a private company registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 177576 B USt.-ID: DE306832549).

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