Researchers from Pwani University engaged engaging with academics, artists, library scientists and museologists in a range of cities and settings during their Spring 2023 TPAAE secondment as they prepare for launch of the first degree and diploma programmes in Fine Art and Design on the Kenyan coast. Hosted by the Academy of Art in Szczecin (AS) and funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (Grant Agreement No.: 872718) that underwrites the project, the team’s month-long visit took in universities, galleries and memorials in Poland and Germany. Their discussions saw them share knowledge with Polish counterparts on practical aspects of administration, pedagogy, and management of institutional assets.
Institutional lead Prof. Stephen Muoki, Ph.D., led the Pwani delegation, which includes Florence Mtuweta and Michael Maua, MA. Mtuweta assists Muoki, who is the Director of the Board of the Undergraduate Studies. Whilst doctoral candidate Maua is the university library’s Information Officer. The team made trips to build contacts in Poznan, Poland, and in Ramin, Germany, and toured the Polish capital city of Warsaw. They deepened relationships forged in Szczecin under TPAAE and explored Berlin before flying back to Kenya. At Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, the delegation met with Prof. Andrzej Pryba, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, and Vice Rector for International Cooperation Prof. Rafal Witkowski. Muoki, a fellow historian of the Christian religion, and the Pwani representatives identified education spheres of mutual interest as areas for collaborations between the two universities.
The team shared the Kenyan experience with librarians of Raczyński Public Library, housed in a building which was erected in 1822–1828 with the financial support of the Edward Raczyński Foundation. They also visited the 10th century Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, one of Poland’s oldest churches. Whist in Ramin, the team spent time with Polish and German artists at an exhibition entitled “In Search of Peace and Harmony.” Michal Kulik from the Department for International Cooperation at the Academy of Art in Szczecin escorted the team to the event at Gutshaus Ramin, where the team also engaged with German academics. Kenyan team run to the Warsaw included a tour the historic Old Town district, parts of which were rebuilt with bricks savaged from Szczecin’s old city after the devastation of World War II. Members also were guided through the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in the Polish capital.
In Szczecin, Pwani researchers renewed contacts with administrators, scholars, and staff from institutions around the city. These included the University of Szczecin, where Prof. Cezary Korzec of the Faculty of Theology discussed partnership initiatives with the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Pwani University. Pwani University’s representatives met also met with Maciej Mizgalski, who heads the Department of Promotion and Organization of Artistic Events at Academy of Art in Szczecin and who toured them through the Academy’s palaces, including the visit to the Mediateka Multimedia library. Meetings also took place with officials at the West Pomeranian University of Technology, and at Książnica Pomorska, the Main Provincial Library in Western Pomerania region.
At the National Museum in Szczecin, Pwani University’s delegates attended the opening of an exhibition of Mexican Art from the collection of Stanislaw Kasprzyk put on by the Department of Overseas Culture. They also made Easter eggs as part of an Museum’s community art workshop timed with the holiday coordinated by organized by Ewa Sitarek. In preparation for the launch of the Art and Design programmes in September, the team met extensively with TPAAE main coordinator, Prof. Aleksandra Lukaszewicz, Prof. Lukasz Jastrubczak (curator of the project’s DUOS Festival practicum series), and Prof. Lukasz Skapski to hash out strategy and tactics. Pwani University is offering Bachelor of Art and Design Degree and Diploma in Art and Design that are the project’s lasting legacy.
TPAAE partners, that is Academy of Art in Szczecin, Kenyatta University, and Universita di Macerata in Italy worked with Pwani University to develop the curriculum for the courses, which span a range of theoretical surveys and practical instruction in fields that range for traditional crafts to computer-aided production. With a focus on so-called Artrepreneurship, Pwani University is preparing graduates to meet the demand for qualified creatives across the spectrum of Kenyan industry.