Go to the content


0 no comments yet No one following this article yet. 190 views

Img 3541The Nagenda International Academy of Art & Design (NIAAD) in Namulanda generously permitted the Kampala Working Group to convene on its premises for an intensive workshop during the semester break in July 2017.

 At the outset Kitto and I reaffirmed our wish to use Trowell’s 1960 book African Design as the starting point for our 2017/2018 learning unit, and we agreed that:

  • we wish to develop and test the learning unit by working with students at NIAAD
  • the learning unit has to be designed in such a way as not to increase the workloads of either Kitto or his students in any way - as far as is possible; and
  • the delivery of the new learning unit should require as little as possible in terms of additional physical teaching and learning resources from the points of view of Kitto or his students.

Kitt and I are very fortunate that Andrea Thal (Cairo Working Group) introduced us to Training for Exploitation? Politicising Employability and Reclaiming Education - a resource- and workbook that was published in the UK this year by the Precarious Workers Brigade.

Although written from a British perspective and ostensibly for a British audience, the book succinctly articulates, in a reasonably universal way, many of the challenges/pressures that the 21st century neoliberal economy poses for/imposes upon those of us who are committed emancipatory arts educational practices. It further proposes practical strategies that educators and students can use to confront, counteract and overcome them.


After much discussion and debate, Kitto and I agreed that:

  • with the consent of NIAAD senior management, in the first instance, we would only focus our efforts on reworking the year one semester one course entitled “Introduction to Graphic Design” with what we today choose to term “expanded historically-grounded critical content”. We would commit ourselves to reworking the content of other courses only at a later stage.
  • our respective experiences of the Decolonizing Art Education project indicate that we need to devote considerable time to imparting to students the kinds of critical thinking and analytical skills and knowledges that we feel they need in order to complete our desired learning unit.

Therefore we have decided to formally introduce Trowell’s African Design in the next semester (starting February 2018), and instead focus our efforts during the upcoming semester on supporting students in acquiring the skills we feel they need to conduct the research programme we are developing.

We have devoted considerable energy to trying to identify the most effective and generative ‘entry points’ for the participant student/researchers. Our current strategy is to build on the lively and heated discussions that Kitto has already initiated within the school around what might be said to constitute the “Africanness” of African Art or African Design.

We shall also be drawing upon activities and work plans that Carmen Moersch and I created for the first distance learning phase of the staff and curriculum development programme “Decolonizing Art Education”, with which Kitto already has a level of familiarity - in particular the activities relating to John Berger’s television series and book Ways of Seeing (1972) and Stuart Hall’s Open University textbook Representation: Cultural Representations & Signifying Practices (1997).

0 no comments yet

If you are a registered user, you can login and be automatically recognized.