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History on the Stage: Arts-Based Lifelong Learning

Kwesi Firempong 1 

Kwesi Firempong
MA Ed Lifelong Learning, 2014

 

“The professors in the program are wonderful and engaging with an open and supportive 
style. They give you the latitude to explore the ideas that are important to you.”


A Passion for Teaching and Learning 


“It was the draw of the Atlantic ocean that brought me to Halifax,” recalls Kwesi Firempong. Originally from Ghana, Kwesi is part of the Africentric Cohort of the Graduate Studies in Lifelong Learning Program.


His passion for learning is evident in his diverse educational path that encompasses undergraduate work in both Arts and Sciences at various universities. A passion for helping others learn led him to a job   with the Nova Scotia Community College’s Adult Learning Program where he delivers courses in Math, Physics and Chemistry to adult learners. He also regularly tutors young people, in conjunction with the Black Educator’s Association.


It was through reflecting on the role of education and a desire to make a difference in the lives of adult learners that drew him to graduate studies at the Mount. “Studies in Lifelong Learning, as a discipline, is so practical in terms of its application,” says Firempong, whose own learning through his graduate courses and exposure to critical race theory, have opened up a world of possibilities for research and inquiry.


Teaching Social Justice


Kwesi defended his thesis in April 2014. Several of his classmates attended his defence to support their classmate, and to learn more about his fascinating topic: Kwesi’s thesis explores how a historic 1968 visit of delegates from the Black Panther Party to Halifax impacted African Nova Scotian activism for social justice. 

 

KwesiHe incorporates an Arts-informed apporach in his thesis. This approach led him to write a play based on his research into this pivotal movement in activisim and social justice in Halifax. As a culmination of his studies, he will stage a theatre production of his play.

 

At the Fall convocation Kwesi was awarded the 2014 Graduate Thesis award for his thesis: The Panthers are Coming: Analyzing the Impact of the 1968 Black Panther Party's Visit to Halifax on African Nova Scotian Activism for Equality and Social Justice. Kwesi is currently enrolled in a Doctorate in Education at York University.  Pictured with Kwesi is Dr. Susie Brigham (thesis supervisor), Dr. Ardra Cole (not shown in picture) was also a member of Kwesi's thesis committee.

 

 

Social justice and its relationship to education are important to Kewsi’s work and his career goals. He aspires to pursue doctoral studies, and his potential PhD interests include exploring achievement gaps based on racial differences, investigating what methods are best suited to reach specific groups of adult learners.

 

“The professors in the program are wonderful and engaging with an open and supportive style,” says Kwesi, reflecting on his GSLL experience so far. “They give you the latitude to explore the ideas that are important to you. I’ve had the opportunity to forge relationships and connect with people who have become mentors.” The Africentric Cohort, he notes, has also resulted in a better understanding of the African Nova Scotian experience and race relations in Nova Scotia.

 

“The Graduate Studies in Lifelong Learning Program will help toward gaining credibility in academia so I can continue on to do my PhD, teach in university, and continue to make a difference.”