16:00 - 16:30
Statement Talk
Empowerment Through Making: The Love School Project – A Kenyan-German Co-Creation

Short thesis

As we know, rote education is outdated as it only serves the purpose of turning us into obedient task rabbits. As a holistic approach to learning it is fundamental to activate self-efficacy and responsibility in addition to creative and social skills. This project questions the general hype around digitalization, exploring the theory of embodied cognition which emphasizes the importance of our physicality in the process of learning.


This talk will explore several questions: How do we learn best? How can we most effectively support each other? How can we recover balance between digital and analog activities? How could we integrate new approaches in general education curriculae?

The setting for this co-creation project was the cultural and creative exchange between design students from UdK Berlin and pupils from Love School in Nairobi's slum Kawangware. We started by collaborating online during the semester project to eventually meet face to face in a hands on workshop at Love School (which was on a voluntary basis without support by the University).

By exposing the design students to an open cooperation setting they were forced to experiment, question themselves and iterate their approach. By passing on and explaining their ideas, processes and findings to the Love School pupils, they had to reflect on their work and thinking, thus being able to quickly discover flaws. Both tasks were embedded in a craft-based design process where students and pupils learned and applied different artisanal techniques, while integrating new knowledge on a physical level.

On a meta-level, the methods applied in the project aim at re-designing development aid by pushing it towards “empowerment through making”. The participants co-created makable and sellable design objects, which supports the school’s endeavour of buying their own grounds to sustain a proper learning environment.

Another aspect is the reduction of cultural and societal barriers both internationally and within Kenya. During our workshop at the school we focused on building a temporary structure to present the project, sell the products and create a space of communication, aiming at bringing together people from different social backgrounds. Our goal for the project is to perfectionise the objects the kids develop and to sell them through the Love School Brand we are currently setting up. The long term vision is to create methods and settings of creative learning that can be applied in short, mid or longterm workshops and classes all around the world.

We are looking forward to an inspiring discussion.