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Towards the end of 2016, following the meeting of the Intertwining Hi/Stories Cluster in São Paolo, Kitto Derrick Wintergreen joined the Kampala Working Group of the Another Roadmap School.

 A graduate of the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art at Makerere University in Kampala, Kitto is currently Acting Head of the Fine Art Department at Nagenda International Academy of Art and Design (NIAAD) in Namulanda – Uganda, where he also teaches certificate and diploma courses in visual communication design and weaving.

Kitto had been first a participant in and later the coordinator of ‘Decolonizing Art Education’ - a two-year staff and curriculum development project at NIAAD that had been created and facilitated by Carmen Moersch (Zurich Working Group), Rangoato Hlasane (Johannesburg Working Group), George Shire (Harare Working Group) and myself.


Over the time that we have worked together, Kitto has come to share my belief that a more critical and discursively informed understanding of Margaret Trowell’s teaching and her legacy is essential if art and design education in Uganda is to become more relevant and empowering in the longer term.*

Therefore as a working group, we agreed to adopt, as our initial goal, the research and development of strategies for integrating the research I have been doing into Trowell’s work into the contemporary curriculum at NIAAD.

We identified Trowell’s work on design as our shared point of entry for two reasons:

  1. it is the area into which I have so far personally done the least research; and
  2. it is what Kitto currently teaches.

Our starting point is Margaret Trowell’s book, African Design (covers of first and current editions pictured).

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First appearing in 1960, two years after Trowell’s retirement from the School of Art at Makerere University, this was one of the first books ever to be published on the topic of design in Africa, and sadly continues to be one of the only ones.

As an initial step, Kitto and I agreed:

  • to examine Trowell’s terminology and to trace its evolution, looking particularly at her use of the words ‘design’, ‘craft’, ’handwork’ and ‘decoration’ and at the relationships she draws between them
  • to consider the similarities, differences and connections between Trowell’s concepts of 'African Art' and 'African Design' and between her approaches to teaching them.

We have decided to use the opportunity to develop a learning unit currently afforded us by our participation in the Intertwining Hi/stories Cluster to try to find ways to introduce Trowell’s book into the design curriculum at NIAAD, and to use it as a springboard not only for further discussion and debate but for the development of Kitto’s students’ practical design skills.

Written by Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa


*For more information, see 'Synthetic Authenticity' (our 2012 research outline) and "Margaret Trowell's School of Art: A Case Study in Colonial Subject Formation".

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