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The architecture of care: student engagement with rural woman artists in central parts of South Africa
February 21, 2022 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Architecture teaching provides excellent opportunities for engaged service-learning (SL) interaction. Little is known about community participants’ perceptions during the engagement dominated by an unfamiliar context and formal institutional presence from a place of instruction. Past efforts to upgrade traditional earth building by introducing new development around self-help earth building techniques are essential, but a celebration of existing skills is missed. In South Africa, local Basotho and Zulu home building and decoration skills are needed for the local heritage of culturally significant architecture. How can SL establish pride and accomplishment for rural earth-constructed homesteads of (litema and marela) wall decoration artists to support the architecture of care and engagement in rural parts of the eastern Free State Province? This novice approach to information content (decoration on traditional earth-constructed, unstabilized walls) and reversed teacher-trainer roles is a spontaneous celebration of the skills of rural women artists. The slowly disappearing domestic practice of litema and marela wall decoration holds new possibilities of changed perceptions needed to promote contemporary earth-constructed buildings. Lecturers should keep exploring SL opportunities for local teaching practices to advance community engagement with teaching and learning.