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.
They collect problems from communities throughout the USA and Europe, and send them to thinktanks they created in ‘developing’ communities. The thinktanks – 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 decolonial 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 global south to solve problems of people in the north. Helping people overcome their cultural assumptions.
Ghana Thinktank was founded in 2006 by Christopher Robbins, John Ewing and Matey Odonkor. Maria Del Carmen Montoya joined in 2009. The project began with thinktanks in Ghana, Cuba and El Salvador, and has since expanded to include Mexico, Iran, Serbia, Indonesia, Sudan and Morocco.