The Future of Arts Education: Conference notes from Johannesburg
by Lineo Segoete
I had the honour of being invited by Pro Helvetia Johannesburg to attend the Creatives Make It Happen conference at University of Johannesburg between 8-10. Thereafter I attended the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Regional Conference on Arts Education from 11-13 March where I gave a presentation on the state of Arts Education in Lesotho as well as our work at Ba re e ne re.
To say it was a stimulating week is an understatement. I got to listen to some profound ideas and perspectives centered on creative production and preservation, which are some of my primary interests. Over and above all, I absorbed doses of enlightenment and gained insight into how creatives in other disciplines across South Africa and the rest of the continent approach their work. I reflected on how the value of art production and management run parallel with Lesotho’s development and are in alignment with what we’re offering Basotho through our vision for Ba re e ne re.
The world is entering into an era where cultural appreciation takes centre stage, becoming a priority on everyone’s agenda. Art has served a curatorial function of cultural evolution throughout history. It documents, critiques, expresses and praises all phases of humanity. Every place has its styles and techniques, yet what resonates everywhere is that there are stories being told.
Lesotho has her own stories to tell and it is time we extended the hospitality we have for our visitors to being generous guests ourselves. We must strip ourselves of our silence. There are remarkable things happening in our country to share with the world as well as infuriating issues to get off our chest and deliberate with others to find causes and pave solutions. And you know what, the more we embrace cultural diversity, the more we recognise our uniqueness and exceptional beauty. People of other cultures are curious about us. They are waiting for the mere opportunity to swarm around us and hear what we have to say.
At these conferences I interacted with people from all over the world; visual artists, musicians, writers, professors, students and many others, and they are all committed to collaboration and exchange for the sake of their creativity and how it relates to their communities and personal development. I learned that we should pursue knowledge like a stalker does his obsession. A true creative wholeheartedly observes the environment and its people. In order to grow, it is wise to make friends who support us and bring us closer to realising our dreams, and to remain humble in order to retain the integrity of the work we do so that it is for the greater good of our society.
Our props go to:
Assitej South Africa
Arts and Culture Trust South Africa
University of Johannesburg Arts and Culture
Professor David Andrew; Head of Fine Arts at Wits
Dr. Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Associate Professor at University of Toronto
Professor Stephen Chifunyise