UEW Research Team Visits Europe on a Collaborative Project

As part of a 3-year research project on ‘Exploring Visual Cultures’, an eight-member team of researchers and lecturers from the University of Education, Winneba visited Germany and Italy from November 10th – 18th, 2019. The essence of the visit, amongst others, was to explore the visual culture milieu of Germany and Italy, and attend a symposium at the Academy of Fine Art University in Germany to present image-based research papers on the said project.

This bilateral research project on images is meant to develop educational materials for effective teaching and learning, and the training of global citizens.  

Leading the eight-member team were Dr. Patrique deGraft-Yankson, the Dean of School of Creative Arts and Prof. Yaw Sakyi-Baidoo, Dean, Centre for International Programmes. Other members of the team were Ms Selasie Sosu, Dr. Jospeh Essuman, Dr. Ebenezer Acquah, Dr. Osuanyi Quaicoo Essel, Mr. Eric Nketia and Ms Getrude Nkrumah.

One of the team leaders, Prof. Yaw Sakyi-Baidoo during a presentation at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich

The Ghanaian team, as part of a familiarisation tour visited the centuries old Academy of Fine Art University, Germany led by their German counterparts, Prof Ernst Wagner and accompanied by Dr. Johanna. The tour included a visit to their art studios, workshops and class sessions. This exposed the team to the art-based pedagogical praxis in the Academy. It also offered the team the opportunity to interact with the art teachers and students of the Academy and observe exploratory projects on Glass Art, Painting and Graphic Design.

During a stopover at the Museum Funf Kontinente, exhibits of African art collections in the gallery spaces and archives became the focus in re-establishing visual contact with centuries’ old African artworks that were collected from the continent. The visual engagement reinforced reinterpretation of the artistic culture of Africa. From these collections, members of the Ghanaian team selected images for the purpose of critical analysis and interpretations for presentations to be published on the project websites.

A lecture and series of presentations at two Universities followed with a paper presentation by Ms Selasie Sosu at the Ludwig Maximilian Universit, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1. Subsequently, the rest of the Ghanaian team presented a paper each at a public symposium in the renowned Academy of Fine Art. The papers were based on analysis and interpretations of images from Ghana visual culture perspective and its relationship with the SDGs.

A class engagement with high school students at Theresien-Gymnasium Munchen

Grouped into two, each of the teams observed and partook in co-teaching of Art Education lessons in selected Senior High Schools namely, Theresien-Gymnasium Munchen and Wilsbacher-Gymnasium respectively.

The purpose of the teaching was to explore different teaching environments and to experience how the images selected would be used effectively in the teaching and learning process to derive its intended educational benefits.

Class engagement with high school students at Wilsbacher-Gymnasium in Munich

The art education lessons, according to both groups, informed their future selection and use of images meant for the project since it had bearing on issues such as cultural appropriation, sensitivity and international educational relevance. It also helped to gather the students’ perspectives and understanding of the images.

Other exploratory activities included a trip to Venice, Italy to observe the prestigious Venice Biennale known for exhibiting contemporary artworks in multinational perspective. The delegation led by Prof Ernst Wagner traveled through Austria to Italy and toured the historic Venetian artistic sites and Museums to view the Early Renaissance artworks and architecture as well as the pavilions of the Biennale for two days.

Consequently, both teams held a strategic meeting on the project to climax the end of the visit.