Kenya’s university system possesses new avenues for creative education with the launch of an arts programme in the Coastal Region. The courses at Pwani University (PU) provide instruction across a spectrum of media, practices, and technologies, with the goal of filling the demand for skilled professionals in the country’s fast-growing creative industries.
Classes accredited by Kenya’s Commission for University Education are underway at the PU School of Humanities and Social Sciences, where students are working toward Art and Design at Bachelor and diploma levels. They mark the culmination of work by TPAAE teams of European and Kenyan educators, including pedagogues from Poland and Italy, as well as Kenyatta University (KU) in Nairobi, who designed the curriculum and advised their partners from PU.
PU courses provide instruction as much in foundational principles as artistic practices. Surveys of perception and psychology complement readings in anthropology and art history in the programme’s theoretical grounding, while workshops and labs in a wide range of artistic endeavours, from traditional-craft to computer-aided, provide a multidisciplinary platform for specialization, innovation, and further study.
The combined course syllabus reflects the interests of researchers and practitioners from the Academy of Art in Szczecin and the University of Macerata in Italy, as well as those from KU and PU. Along with treatments of aesthetics, pedagogy, and the religious aspects of Contemporary Art, there are courses in textile design, drawing and painting, and theatre and film studies. There also is a focus on so-called Artrepreneurship, which aims to arm graduates with the tools they need to succeed in the country’s creative economy.
Eric C. Butler