- University of Cape CoastScholarship Holder
Connecting Knowledge and Practice for Sustainable Development: The Case of Higher Education and Creative Economy in Ghana
There is a growing recognition of the contributions of the creative economy (CE) to finding creative solutions to global challenges related to environment, education, health, social cohesion and ultimately sustainable development. In low income countries where the CE is amorphous and largely informal, a strong connective tissue of knowledge and practical information between the CE and higher education institutions can be a powerful enabler of sustainable development. In Ghana, for instance, the weak connection between the informal CE and the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) is due mainly to the provincial focus by the latter on scholarly activities largely devoted to serving academic purposes making the CE to remain in a knowledge desert. This knowledge starvation slows the evolution, refinement and expansion of the CE while depriving the populace of the full benefit of the contributions of the CE to development. In spite of the clarion calls for education and research to become increasingly relevant to industry and development, the connection between HEIs and the CE in low income countries has not been given due recognition and research attention. Given the enormous potential of the CE to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is important and urgent to study the mechanisms for creating and operating a functional third space between HEIs and the CE.
The main aim of this study will be to explore critical issues regarding the evolution and nature of organic models of interdependence between HEIs and the CE. The specific objectives are to:
• Assess the respective perceptions that HEIs and CE have about each other
• Explore the mechanisms and drivers of knowledge exchange or sharing between HEIs and CE
• Evaluate the expectations, impacts and challenges of the feedback relationships between these two stakeholders
• Generate requirements and opportunities for a functional and formal “third space” between HEIs and the CE
The study will use largely a qualitative approach. Selected creative arts departments from HEIs and actors in the CE will be used for in-depth analysis of the nature, challenges and opportunities for feedback interactions between the HEIs and the CE. Key data collection instruments will include focus group discussions, interviews, document analysis, stakeholder mapping and participatory observations. Qualitative data analysis will be done using the NVivo software, together with thematic and content analyses to organize the data from interviews, conversations and observations to generate categories, themes, and patterns.
Madinatu Bello is an Assistant Lecturer and a PhD student in Music Education. She graduated in 2011 with a Master of Philosophy in Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana and Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies and Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast in 2008 and 2010, respectively. She has about seven year’s cumulative experience in teaching and research at the University of Cape Coast (Ghana), excluding her exposure to research theory and practice during her undergraduate studentship. Apart from her undergraduate and graduate research projects, she has had practical experiences in field research. Between 2009 and 2013, she worked as a Senior Research Assistant and rose to the rank of Principal Research Assistant at the Department of Theatre and Film Studies. In this position, she assisted lecturers in various teaching and research activities. She had an opportunity to work on a research project sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency on how to reduce HIV/AIDS stigmatization in the Edina – Essaman community using Theatre for Development (TfD) as a communication tool. After submitting her masters thesis in 2011, she was engaged by the Department of Theatre and Film Studies to participate in a one year project (sponsored by UNICEF) in 20 communities in three districts of the Central region of Ghana. The project was about hand- washing with soap, traditional birth attendants and excessive breastfeeding and insecticide-treated mosquito nets. She has four publications to her credit.