Another Roadmap for Arts Education is an international initiative under the aegis of the Another Roadmap School. It involves 22 regional research groups working to critically analyse the UNESCO Road Map for Arts Education (Lisbon 2006) and the Seoul Agenda for Arts Education (2010) in terms of their framing of history and terminology, subtexts and paradigms, as well as the application of these policies in different parts of the world. The Africa Cluster of Another Roadmap for Arts Education is led by Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa and consists of working groups in seven African countries: Uganda, Egypt, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Nigeria and South Africa. Through our projects and research, Ba re e ne re acts as the Lesotho working group. Collectively, the members of the Africa Cluster are scholars and practitioners of arts education, working on the African continent, who wish to pursue a joint programme of research into arts educational practice in Africa. We held our first intensive, yet enthusiastic meeting in Entebbe, Uganda from 23-25 July 2015 to exchange knowledge, set goals and map a way forward for the next three years.
Over the past two decades, arts education has evolved into a global conversation. The UNESCO Road Map for Art Education (2006) and the subsequent Seoul Agenda (2010), have brought major international players together with the aim to advocate for the importance of arts education and to promote its implementation in formal and informal contexts. Nevertheless, the Another Roadmap School argues that some aspects of UNESCO’s policy documents reflect a lack of substantial, nuanced research on art education practices in varying socio-political contexts. The documents lack sufficient critical engagement with the history and the persistent hegemony of the western conceptions of arts and education within the field.
For one thing, the diverse knowledge of Africa-based practitioners and scholars were underrepresented in the development processes of both the UNESCO Road Map and the Seoul Agenda. Consequently, Africa is vulnerable to these documents’ deficiencies because African concepts of ‘art’ and ‘art education’ are not reflected in current policy documents. Yet, this is also the region whose educational and cultural policies are often most reliant upon documents of this kind in the formation of national policies and legislation.
The aim of our research is to make a critical and timely contribution to the development of practice and policy in the field of Arts Education in Africa. Our project combines arts, social transformation and learning through local research and experimental action that is developed in dialogue between our respective working groups on various levels. The project supports the development of innovative arts and education projects in community contexts while at the same time networking Africa-based scholars and practitioners. It is modeled to enable us to advance collaborative research into arts education practice, and to build both a shared knowledge base and a structure of mutual learning that will benefit African practitioners as a whole. We envision our work contributing to advances, thinking and practice worldwide through the Another Roadmap School.
The Africa Cluster recognizes that considerable, exhaustive research into arts education on the continent is vital. Historically, the subject has been miserably under-researched and under-documented. Apart from – perhaps – the case of literature (and even then, there is a focus on that which is written in Western languages), there is very little high quality, locally accessible research material available to practitioners and teachers on the continent.
We believe this has extremely serious consequences which must be put right. The focus goals set at first meeting therefore are to: (1) research arts education histories, (2) develop alternative paradigms, that is, incorporate indigenous practices and aesthetic concepts into arts education, and (3) outline knowledge disseminations in the form of libraries and books and consider how to make knowledge accessible and usable.
As Ba re e ne re we believe Basotho stand to benefit greatly from this collaborative because our country is at the genesis of embracing creativity and entrepreneurship as part of the educational curriculum. Through this recognition of the links between creativity and growth, we will be better equipped to facilitate resources to the youth of this country so that their talents sour beyond heights previously explored.
Participating Organisations in the Africa Cluster Meeting
Art Is Everywhere (Nigeria)
Artists Home (Rwanda)
Ba re e ne re Literary Arts (Lesotho)
Contemporary Image Collective (Egypt)
Keleketla Media Arts Project (South Africa)
Picha Arts Centre (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Wits School of Art (South Africa)
Zurich University of The Arts