Catalyst Education Lead, Jamie Thomas, was recently invited by trailblazing music production organisation, Santuri East Africa, to deliver a masterclass on our project-based learning model.
At Catalyst, we put artistry front and centre, focusing on the real-world application of creative skills through project-based learning. It’s an educational model that is sure to make a profound impact on the creative industries in the years to come, and it doesn’t end at the boundaries of our Funkhaus campus. Part of our long-term mission is connecting with other progressive institutions around the world, so that we can break ground together in the forging of a new educational paradigm.
Recently, we were thrilled to partner with Santuri East Africa, a Nairobi-based platform that supports East African music producers, DJs, sound engineers and other music industry professionals. Santuri offers training, workshops, recording projects, consultancy services, and events that promote and support local and international artists. Established with support from the Goethe-Institute's Jenga CCI programme, the Santuri Electronic Music Academy (SEMA) developed the Train the Trainer (TTT) project in collaboration with Jamie to enhance and refine their teaching methodology.
"TTT was the best way to start my year.... [it] has equipped me with more teaching tools to use to keep my students engaged. Before each session Jamie would have us do a quick check – in a round, to see where everyone was at and to assess our state of mind before going into a meeting. This seemingly simple activity was one of the most important things I took away from the course, and in my practice, moving forward, it has been most impactful. Knowing what someone is feeling, how their trip to the office was, how engaged or switched off they are before starting a class or a meeting, helps you know what tools to apply to teach with so as to be most impactful to them in their journey of learning."
- Emma Nzioka (DJ Coco Em), DJ/Producer/Educator/Filmmaker
As part of this project, Catalyst Education Lead, Jamie Thomas, was invited by Santuri to provide detailed guidance and training on the project-based learning model, which he’s been instrumental in developing at our institute since the very beginning. He led a rigorous set of workshops, sharing his expertise of progressive teaching practices with 17 staff, tutors and artists from various musical disciplines. Santuri writes that there were numerous breakthrough moments. Not only did the participants find some useful tools to bring out their own creativity, but clarity on how to move forward with the beginner and advanced music production courses they are developing.
“I was enamored to have met such a diverse bunch of enthusiastic teachers, eager to learn and experiment with new ideas,” Jamie reflects. “The proposed framework took us on a journey through progressive education methodology, starting out by examining educational contexts and personal experience... Learning about the cohort’s past experiences of educational systems was a real highlight for me.”
"TTT was an incredibly insightful course. Through learning-by-doing, I got a first-hand opportunity to experience creative education through the lens of our students, and several lessons were made. With the introduction to project based learning, active learning, and purpose-driven teamwork, as the Santuri team I'm keen to see how we incorporate these engaging and innovative approaches in future programmes to come.”
- Sharon Onyango-Obbo, Project Manager, SEMA
Santuri director, David Tinning, says the course armed the organisation with “a tool box of imaginative approaches, projects and thought-provoking questions that will challenge our students to achieve new heights in their creativity. What’s more, our tutors, staff and the organization as a whole understand that learning is a process we all need to engage with. As Santuri proceeds to grow as the region’s most progressive, cutting-edge music education facility, it’s a road we are well equipped to navigate.”
We’re so excited to see how Santuri implements these methodologies across their courses, and how the organisation will continue to impact and inspire East Africa’s electronic music scene. “I’d like to congratulate and thank everyone for their full engagement, hospitality and warm welcome throughout my time in Nairobi,” says Jamie. “It would have been nothing without your hard work, humor, humility and continued desire to learn. I hope I see you all again in the future and can’t wait to hear about your progress, both as music practitioners and as facilitators of learning!”
"Experiencing TTT has been impactful to me when approaching, not only my teaching practices, but also my thought processes and self -organizing methods. An example is how PBL has opened me up to the ethos of sustained inquiry, which is really molding my thinking in how I’m showing up in work and life. Another impactful offering from the teaching method was the idea of placing authenticity and real-world context and impact at the center of the classroom. This has not only aided in streamlining my content and delivery as the tutor, but continues to bear fruit in the increasing student engagement within my classroom setting. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity for both personal and professional expansion as both a coordinator and participant of TTT."
- Wairimu Sisian, Artist & TTT Project Officer
Catalyst founder, David Puttick, also extends his heartfelt thanks to Santuri for the opportunity: “Catalyst are building an international creative community and it's always been our intention that this community would extend way beyond the walls and grounds of the Funkhaus. So it's an absolute pleasure for us to have an opportunity to contribute to this exciting project both now and in the future.”
Read more about the training on Santuri’s blog.