College of Human Sciences

Reaching out to the community through art education

The Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology in the College of Human of Sciences together with the Gauteng Department of Basic Education hosted the final workshop and award ceremony for the Creative Arts Project which saw vibrant teachers coming together to be equipped with more tools to use when teaching creative arts.

The Creative arts workshops were initiated at Unisa in 2013 by Chair of the Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology, Professor Nombeko Mpako, with the aim to empower art and music teachers to better their subjects and in this way assist in capacity building in our schools. Currently the department is working with the Gauteng Department of Basic Education, who nominate about 65 teachers per year to complete the training course which consists of 12 workshops, presented throughout the year.

“We are educating children through art, which develops capabilities such as constructive thinking, imagination, confidence, creativity and empathy,” said Professor Mpako. In her recent interview with Channel Africa, she emphasised that because of the legacy of apartheid, South Africa did not have art education in black schools, and the lack of infrastructure in black schools of art subjects motivated her to initiate the project of workshops to intervene with this matter.

The final workshop consisted of various activities such as basic techniques for playing the djembe and facilitating drum circles. This was an exciting experience for the teachers because some of them hadn’t experienced playing the drums. Teachers got the opportunity to create their own artwork which was showcased at the final workshop.

Acting Manager for Tuition, Learner Support and Community Engagement in the College of Human Sciences, Professor Koliswa Moropa, spoke on the importance of community engagement stating how Unisa as an institution is not only about teaching and research but also about community engagement. She proudly stated that the communities are the experts because they know what needs to be improved in their communities.

She emphasised that the teachers should take all they have learned from the workshops and plant it back in their communities.  “When you are working in a community engagement project you are a team with others and not a team alone and through this vital role one plays, they will enhance the impact and success of the project.”

She emphasised that even though Professor Mpako is the mother of the project, without the teachers participation there would not be a complete project. The project has grown because of the difference it has been making in arts education. Learners are even getting more exposure to instruments because teachers are educating themselves on how to master those instruments in order to help learners.

Click here to listen to Professor Mpako’s Channel Africa interview.

Some of the teachers during one of the workshops that formed part of the Creative Arts Project equips teachers with more tools to use when teaching creative arts.

*By Nomshado Lubisi (CHS communications and marketing)

Publish date: 2017/11/07