Publications

International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Art of the Impossible? A Case Study and Reflections on the Experience of Art in a Rural Kenyan Primary School

Volume 31.3   2012

Gregory, Peter

 

The arguments for, and justification of, the value of teaching art in school have been made previously, but contextually these are often situated in Western affluence. This article explores the issues with a strikingly contrasted setting. The rural school in the study is approximately 30 minutes' drive from the nearest town, and the pupils are drawn from the surrounding rural bush area which is itself developmentally and materially poor in comparison to the UK. In school, the poverty seemed initially to relate to a lack of educational resources, but the reality experienced in the classroom may have also been linked to other issues. These included the desperate preoccupation with survival in difficult climatic conditions, a postcolonial legacy and the delicate balance of utilising resources without waste. What conclusions might then be drawn about the teaching of art? Utilising the work of others who have considered the issues in Kenya, this small-scale ethnographic case study is presented with personal reflection and observations. The author would be pleased to hear from others with similar experiences or who have recognised additional issues in seemingly challenging circumstances.