The international research team (consisting of researchers from AASZ, UNIMC, PUC, KU) is participating in all meetings and workshops (in person and via remote) organized to elaborate and carry on the planning of the Bachelor and Diploma programmes in Arts, Design, and Culture at PUC. The work is supported from an educational perspective which focuses on the latest European theories and methodologies dedicated to art education. The research work is carried out from an interdisciplinary and intercultural perspective which considers the socio-educational contexts of Kenya and the actual needs and development potential of the country.
The team – through informal meetings and workshops – engaged in implementing a cultural and interdisciplinary dialogue between Europe and East Africa, aims at disseminating a larger awareness of mutual artistic influences, from the times of Great Avant-garde to contemporary globalization. This approach is particularly fertile in contemporary Kenyan society, which became multicultural in its past due to colonialism, and continues its relationship with the Western world mostly related to economic trades and tourism. In reference to this, the team also interacted with local stakeholders and artists – both in Kilifi and Nairobi – interested in the development of the University curriculums (PUC), as well as in empowering local communities with cultural heritage mindfulness and contemporary art production fruition.
The team is committed to the exploration of urban contexts in Nairobi, marked by distressed social settings that could benefit from art educational actions carried out in cooperation with local artists as well students and colleagues of KU.
Participation of the researchers in shadow teaching and in realization of short courses on art and art theory – at KU (the only Kenyan university offering courses in Fine Arts), and others (at the School of Creative and Performing Arts, Film and Media Studies), and at PUC (where the new programmes in Art and Design are being developed) – allows the researchers from AASZ, UNIMC, and NMS share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences, and also to learn about modes of teaching, requirements, and context on teaching art and culture in Kenya.
Curriculums in Fine Arts, Design and Culture at PUC for Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree
The international working groups were established in the form of the Board for Education, containing researchers from KU, PUC, UNIMC, and AASZ (from the institutions of higher education from Kenya, Italy, and Poland) in order to develop the curriculums in Fine Arts, Design and Culture on Diploma and Undergraduate (Bachelor) Degree levels.
The work was started on the side of AASZ from the beginning of the TPAAE project, but the Board for Education was officially launched during the online meeting on 8th of June 2020. It was followed by the email correspondence concerning the official demands in Kenya to start new courses at the university and initial plans for the courses.
During the secondments of PUC researchers to Academy of Art, there were workshops held in small groups with social distancing and using an online platform for communication, during which the curricula’s outline was developed. The secondment was finalized with the organization of the online Stakeholders Meeting on 25th of January 2021, which is the first necessary official step for achieving acceptance of the curriculums, and the follow-up meeting of the Board for Arts, focused on implementation of the comments of stakeholders.
During the secondment from UNIMC and AASZ to Pwani University in February-March 2021 were held various workshops and seminars (the most important on the 11th and 15th of March, and on the 1st of April 2021) dedicated to making compatible European forms of art education and Kenyan ones, including recounting European Credit Transfer System to Credit Hours that are used in Kenya. These were finalized with division of the work on the Course Outlines for Bachelor’s Degree between KU, PUC, UNIMC, and AASZ. All the prepared courses were presented during the Workshop on Course Descriptions for Curriculum in Bachelor of Art and Design, in the Resource Center at Pwani University, Kenya on 24th of March. The descriptions were discussed, and the feedback will be implemented in the corrections for the final document, now finalized by the PUC research team.
The next step is passing the Curriculum for Bachelor’s Degree through various stages of accreditation and finalizing the Curriculum for Diploma. The courses are planned to be launched in 2022, due to necessary arrangement also of lectures, library, and administration of PUC (concerning equipment).