Mary Clare Kidenda, Lecturer and Head at the Technical University of Kenya and Member of EVC's Expert Panel gives a presentation about The Use of Art Therapy to Facilitate the Release, Relief, Reflection and Restoration of Students in Kenyan Universities during the COVID-19 Pandemic at the UNITWIN Symposium in Seoul on the occation of UNESCO's International Arts Education Week.


Access to basic education is a human right for all in Kenya. Article 43.1 of the Constitution of Kenya states that “every person in Kenya has the right to education”. Globally, and Kenya in particular, Education has been be negatively impacted by COVID-19 shocks with direct consequences on students and teachers. Prolonged school closure, home confinement and Kenya’s inability to provide effective and accessible remote learning opportunities for majority of students and teachers has also had negative effects on their physical and mental health.

However, along with the current changes comes an urgent need for creativity, reimagining and innovation to create a new visual art therapeutic landscapes to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, which are omnipresent during this pandemic.

This paper is a theoretical review, it relies on review of secondary data material to discuss the challenges and mitigations for COVID-19 using visual arts therapy in the Kenyan education sector and propose ways of building creative communities to help students cope. Visual art therapy will amplify hope, promote expression and inspiration. Face to face and a variety of digital platforms will use visual elements as a therapeutic remedy to enable students discover their creative talents and communicate the overwhelming life circumstances they are going through. It will assist students improve their mental health; regain control over an uncontrollable situations, while learning to express themselves. It could be something challenging, such as learning drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics or textile. Celebrating the small wins can promote a positive mental attitude. The attendees will learn how different visual art forms can express a multitude of emotions to cope with stressful, troubled COVID-19 times in learning institutions in Kenya.