Title: Place-based education for sustainability: a strategy that promotes environmental awareness in Ghana through the arts

Author(s): Beatrice Dossah
Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Asthildur Jonsdottir , Ellen Gunnarsdottir
act, arts, curriculum, environment, sustainability


The arts have the potential to empower students by helping them develop feelings towards nature and giving them a voice to actively participate in environmental protection and take up leadership roles in their communities (Sobel 1991). Unfortunately, the arts have not been explored significantly in the educational system in Ghana to solve key problems of environmental education such as low participation and inaction of students in environmental sustainability (MESTI 2012). The aim of this research was to address these problems by investigating how the arts can be used in the education curriculum in Ghana to promote inclusion of all students, link disciplines and empower students to act. The research was planned in four steps. The first step was executed by inquiring how students in Amasaman in the Ga West Municipality of Ghana learn about nature, whether they learn about nature across subjects, and whether the arts have been used as a medium to connect students to their local environment. The second step of this study investigated environmental arts education programmes through interviews with arts educators in Iceland and artists in Ghana to understand what has been done in Iceland, with the aim of transferring and adapting it to the settings in Ghana. The third step was executed with visits and observation at a national park, a historical museum in Iceland and a music festival in Sweden with the aim of examining programmes that have the potential to connect people to their local communities and help them develop positive values and attitudes towards the environment and to act on these. Based on the information gathered, the fourth phase of the study formulated recommendations for teachers, parents and policy makers on how to design environmental education programmes that connect students to their real-life situations and empower them to act. These lessons are also presented in the form of a song.

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