A rural Ugandan community is planning and creating an Indigenous cultural and performing arts institution.

The Institute of Indigenous Cultures and Performing Arts in Kasasa, Uganda, will work alongside the standard curriculum to provide a platform for community elders, leaders, and entrepreneurs to preserve and pass on Indigenous knowledge, cultural practices, and skills-based training. Currently, the national curriculum in Uganda is based on the system imposed through colonial rule, which community members believe lacks cultural relevance and practical application in daily life.

This focus on Indigenous and cultural knowledge may look like a young student learning dance and other forms of artistic expression from an elder to an up-and-coming entrepreneur learning the skill of carpentry or mechanical work.

The cultural and performing arts institution is part of the Tat Sat Community Academy (also known as TaSCA) in Kasasa, Uganda.

The project will include a Dance House, which will be a place of gathering for important functions and activities. Not only will the space be a location where students can learn and perfect cultural practices and applications of Indigenous knowledge important to their heritage, but it will also be accessible by the community at large for social functions and cultural programming.

The community’s vision is to create an institution that serves the larger East African community by concurrently working to archive and preserve cultural practices at threat of being lost, while also engaging new young minds in the creation of new forms of expression rooted in respect for the heritage and culture of all involved. Community elders will be key in this process as they pass down knowledge to those younger than them at the Indigenous Cultures and Performing Arts institution, preserving long-standing practices and keeping traditions alive.

The school and cultural institution are a partnership between the community of Kasasa and The InteRoots Initiative, a Denver, United States-based nonprofit organization. The Tat Sat Community Academy is set to open later this year or early next year.

“We are thrilled to see The Institute of Indigenous Cultures and Performing Arts come together,” said M. Scott Frank, executive director of InteRoots. “Members of the Kasasa community want Indigenous knowledge and performing arts exchange to be the centerpiece of their vision. This groundbreaking space will facilitate the passage of knowledge and information and help cultivate the next generation of thinkers, doers and performers.”

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