New DEEP Fund Projects

By Lisa McDonald

Members of the Collective. Photo: Straight Family Entertainment

One Ocean Hub is thrilled to announce the addition of two new DEEP Fund projects to our programme of community-based art research. We are very proud to have formed new partnerships in Africa and the South Pacific in what has been an extremely challenging time given the ongoing global impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the unexpected and unprecedented reduction to UK foreign aid spending. A new youth-led project in Ghana explores marine folklore, while a new project in Solomon Islands communicates customary stories about the sea.


In Ghana, Straight Family Entertainment has convened a collective of marginalised yet highly creative youth to realise the project Maama Water and the Apam Youth. Conceived in response to the tragic death of 12 children who drowned in the sea off Apam in March 2021, the project explores the legend of Maame Water – a spirit variously regarded as a sea goddess, mother of the ocean and African mermaid.

The Collective – consisting of young musicians, poets, designers and producers – is examining relationships between Ghanaian folklore and the ocean that will result in the production of a song recorded in local languages and an associated video. Engaging with traditional knowledge holders, community elders and area council members, the sharing of intergenerational knowledge about customary practices and traditional rites is a key feature of the project. The conventions of African story-telling are adopted to record narratives that reveal the history, significance and relevance of Maame Water.

Artistic workshops are facilitating the development of Collective members’ professional capacities and technical abilities as they share skills and collaborate in a range of media and genres including musical styles such as rap, hip hop and Afro pop. The project empowers underrepresented young practitioners by way of equitable inclusion to build confidence, boost livelihoods and advance careers.

Solomon Islands

In Solomon Islands, the Association of Solomon Islanders in Creative Fashion is leading Through the Ocean’s Lens. The project brings together female fashion designers, tailors and young models who are creating wearable art that communicates customary relationships with the sea. Although the more than 900 islands that comprise the archipelago are dotted across the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the sea is a powerful force that unites communities, cultures and traditions.

Workshops provide an inclusive space for sharing intergenerational traditional knowledge, customary stories and oral histories related to the ocean. The role of the sea as a sacred space that connects ancestors with current and future generations is explored to highlight inherent values that inform local ways of life. The project campaigns for ocean conservation and provides a platform for relaying the vital importance of the sea to indigenous identity, welfare and livelihoods.

Technical skills training. Photo: Association of Solomon Islanders in Creative Fashion

Alongside knowledge exchange, the project provides practical training to increase the technical abilities of fashion practitioners. By way of strengthening skills in areas such as design, sewing, modelling, marketing and advocacy, the project provides opportunities for financial, creative and professional empowerment. 

To keep up to date with these and our other DEEP Fund projects follow One Ocean Hub on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Dr Lisa McDonald is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate with One Ocean Hub, based at the School of Simulation and Visualisation, Glasgow School of Art. Her research explores the interrelatedness of art, culture, heritage and the ocean, with particular focus on the South Pacific.