Researchers Reach Out to Informal Communities

Teams from CAPHE partner institutions Miastopracownia (MP), Opera Network (ON), and Conservatorio G. Puccini La Spezia (CP) devoted portions of their spring 2023 secondments to learning, teaching, and performing with groups from Nairobi’s informal settlements.

Inspired by their tour of an international exhibition of works in Mukuru, MP architects Barbara Nawrocka, Dominka Wilczyńska, and Dominika Janicka returned to conduct a workshop for children in the area adjacent to an industrial district in the Kenyan capital. Hosted by the Wajukuu Arts collective, they demonstrated design techniques and guided their charges in shaping a vision for the community that is populated largely by migrants from the countryside.

Meanwhile, ON and CP worked with performers from the Korogocho informal settlements to stage music and dance productions. These included Ghetto Classics, a renowned orchestra, and Dance Korogocho, which provides an outlet for children and youth living in the informal community in a northwestern district of the city.

In Mukuru, MP architects were attracted by the Informal Digitalities exhibition that was ongoing at the time of their February visit. Works on display were the output of residencies by artists visiting from Switzerland and Venezuela, and the MP team was drawn by a shelter created as an island of calm for girls from the community. The MP team worked with Wajukuu to devise and execute the workshop in Mukuru that was open to those served by the collective, which offers instruction and meals for children.

ON and CP musicians conducted a choral workshop in Korogocho, rehearsing for a performance of Western and African music. Members of CAPHE’s Italian research contingent, including director Alessandra Montali, keyboardists Adrea Barreggi and Andrea Nicoli, and tenor Leonardo De Lisi, provided instruction and played with their Kenyan charges during the performance that included works by Mozart, Strauss, and Verdi, as well as Kenyan traditional and fusion compositions.