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    Our Questions, Assumptions and Methods

 

How do we think about ‘us’ and the ‘other’? How do we understand cultural interactions? What are our ideas about past, present and future?

Perception and imagination shape cultural memory, and likewise cultural memory shapes how we perceive and imagine ourselves and others as well as the world around us.

 

The project ‘Exploring Visual Cultures

  • takes a closer look at visual objects (e.g. architecture, logos, art-works, photos, fashion) asking simple questions: What do they mean? How are they influenced? How do they influence?
  • looks for answers in transnational dialogues between artists, (art) educators, (art) historians, (cultural) anthropologists, students.
  • shares results with a worldwide community of researchers and educators through conferences, publications, and this website.

Exploring Visual Cultures (EVC)

The project deals with images in education as a central focus.

  • EVC is an international project that started as a mutual cooperation between art educators, scholars in visual culture and historians at universities in South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya and Germany.
  • EVC is an open, transnational network of scholars, teachers and students, coordinated by an expert panel. The panel is chaired by Dr. Avi Sooful, University of Pretoria, South Africa, and Dr. Ernst Wagner, Academy of Fine Arts, München, Germany serves as secretary to the Project.
  • EVC shares its information with a worldwide community of researchers and educators through conferences, publications, and a website. The website provides material about images that are relevant in education and concepts of how they can be used in education.
  • EVC’s interest is diversity – in the selection of images, the narratives related to them and their usage. EVC promotes the African voice in the selection of images from Africa and a global dialogue about the images.

What we do

 

What pedagogical topics in today’s educational system are relevant for a sustainable future? How are these topics related to image practices / imagery (models, art-works, visualizations, media, architecture, sites, landscapes etc.)? How can we use education to better understand the specific phenomena of today’s globalized world?

 

Exploring Visual Cultures (EVC) focuses on the concepts of Shared Heritage, Education for Sustainable Development, and Global Citizenship Education (as defined by UNESCO). The project not only addresses traditional academic subjects like art and history, but also looks at images and image practices through a broad inter- and transdisciplinary lens within the context of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), asking questions about culture, heritage and our shared globalized future.

 

What stories can we tell about particular imageries? What meanings and narratives are such imagery inscribed with? How do certain cultural practices develop in their respective communities of origin and how are they (re)constructed over time? What is their relevance in present-day education? What narratives can we tell about them? What kind of networks (entangled, local and global) do they construct? Through interdisciplinary and worldwide collaboration, especially in the selection and interpretation of relevant visual objects / imagery, EVC engages a multi-perspective approach to understanding such image practices. We believe that in a multipolar world coming generations should be educated to recognize and handle these complexities and ambiguities, thereby deepening intercultural understanding.

 


 

Our history

In October 2015 a workshop in Douala, Cameroon, was held by the Libre Academie des Beaux-Arts (LABA). Prof. Dr. Paul-Henri Souvenir Assako Assako invited also colleagues from Italy and Germany to think about the future of art education. (Link) During this workshop the participants experienced that there was a joint interest to work on the question, how images shape our perception of the world, and how these perceptions - in turn - shape our actions.

This led to the following guiding ideas, which we formulated together as the result of this workshop:

  • At the center should be the exploration of ímageries that shape our perception of the world – and that, again, shape our behavior and actions.
  • Understanding of these imageries as entangled imageries.
  • This can only take place in a transnational dialogue (or polylogue) between artists, educators, and students.

From there a process started to build a consortium with UNISA and the University of Pretoria in South Africa (Link), the University of Education in Winneba, Ghana (Link), the Technical University in Nairobi, Kenya, and a group of partners in Germany, coordinated by the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

In 2019, at a meeting of all partners in Cape Town (Link), we were able to develop a common concept and criteria for a database. For this, a model was worked out, which forms the basis for contributions to this database. The model structures the texts that the participating art teachers are writing. Access to the database should be free for everyone via this website “Exploring Visual Cultures”.

Since then the project is constantly growing, also because more and more partners from other countries are collaborating. The database is the core, but more ideas emerged. For example, joint exhibitions, publications, series of lectures and our cooperation with documenta fifteen.

 


 

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"The logo has been particularly designed to look like a globe on an axle. The logo is based on the theme: Exploring Visual Cultures.
The circular shape of the logo is to show wholeness, that culture is universal. The movement of the circles suggest energy and their different sizes and completeness suggests unity in diversity, and harmony.  The varied diagonal lines and shapes that are used to design the logo are significant visual elements that are needed to create direction and movement in the design as culture is not static. Green was chosen as its colour because it gives a sense of growth and harmony."   Deborah Akuomey-Doussey, Student at the Department of Graphic Design, University of Education, Winneba - Ghana, the Designer of the Logo