Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dakar Symposium on Artistic Education in Africa


International Symposium
Condition Report (2)
On Artistic Education in Africa

Raw Material Company is pleased to announce Condition Report (2), a three-day international symposium on artistic education in Africa organized in collaboration with Dakar’s Ecole Nationale des Arts, and convened by Mamadou Dioum, Director Ecole Nationale des Arts, Koyo Kouoh, Artistic Director, Raw Material Company, and Chika Okeke-Agulu, Associate Professor, Princeton University. The symposium takes place in Dakar, Senegal from 26-28 June 2014. It follows on the first program in January 2012, which focused on emergent independent art institutions in Africa.

Formal art training in Africa began more than a hundred years ago either as a part of nationalist program of cultural development, or as an ancillary component of colonial education. In the wake of political independence by mid-20th century, new African states vigorously pursued autonomous national cultural programs, including the establishment new art and cultural institutions, or expansion and reorientation of existing, colonial ones. However, the Structural Adjustment Programs of the 1980’s and 1990’s severely impacted culture and education industries; in the ensuing turn to the so-called productive sectors of the devastated economies, art education for the most part witnessed dramatic decline in quality, scale and ambition. The symposium will consider how art schools in Africa might be reinvented and retooled to become sites of new trans-disciplinary pedagogical approaches and ambitious experimental projects and methods. It will also consider how to sustain the role of art schools as sites of knowledge production and sharing, research and archival practices and as catalysts for new strategies of international artistic networking.

The main objective of this second international symposium is to provide a platform and opportunity for examining artistic pedagogies and practices, institutional policies and traditions, and how these contribute to the production, transmission and perpetuation of artistic and visual knowledge in African academies. Participating thinkers, faculty, artists, and cultural practitioners working in the educational and academic field will reflect on crucial and urgent matters relating to systematic revitalization of artistic education in African countries. Invited participants will provide analyses of the current situation as well as articulate possible futures for academic art teaching in Africa given the changing contours of national imaginaries and the shifting global economic and political landscape.

Among some case studies that will be presented during the symposium, particular attention will be given to the lack of funding that leads on the one hand to a steady decrease of the teaching quality as well as access to contemporary tools of artistic and intellectual production. One of the core aim of the symposium is to look closely at certain artistic and curatorial projects that influenced the formation of cultural connections among African countries and stimulated the rise of non-degree based workshops, artists collectives and related educational initiatives. How might art schools, despite their need to fulfil set curricular and academic mandates draw on the vitality of non-degree programs? What collaborative possibilities exist between formal and informal art schools, especially given the changing dynamics of the art world, the need for broadening the spaces of artistic, aesthetic and socio-cultural transaction and exchange in Africa?

The symposium will consist of closed and public sessions. Presentations and discussions will address following themes:
  • Faculties & Narratives: Histories of art academies in Africa
  • Curriculum & Syllabus: Content and orientation of teaching
  • Alternative Education: Workshops and artists collectives
  • Comparative global contexts of art pedagogies

Speakers among others include Mara Ambrožič, Alioune Badiane, Roger Buergel, Jerry Buhari, Ana Paula Cohen, Elsbeth Court, Mamadou Dioum, Bassam El Baroni, Meschac Gaba, Seyni Gadiaga, Raimi Gbadamosi, Amal Issa, Abdoulaye Konate, Steven Henry Madoff, Mathilde Moreau, Patrick Missassi, Willem de Rooij, Issa Samb and Pooja Sood.

Attendance is open to a limited number of forty participants selected on the first come first served basis. Interested international participants are requested to contact the coordination for registration and travel information.

Marie Hélène Pereira: mariehelene@rawmaterialcompany.org
Marie Cissé: mariecisse@rawmaterialcompany.org

About Raw Material Company

Raw Material Company is a not for profit center for art, knowledge and society. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, creative residencies, knowledge sharing, and archiving of art theory. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa. 

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