Study music, arts and culture in Ghana, West Africa! In this intensive cultural immersion course, participants study traditional African performing arts and craft making at the world-renowned Dagbe Cultural Institute & Arts Centre. Through studio classes and interaction with families, artists, chiefs and governmental art institutions, students will perform, analyze, construct, critique and demonstrate their acquired skills in these various African artistic mediums. No prior music or dance experience required.
While studying in Ghana, students also participate in traditional festivals, visit local schools and markets, observe daily life in the village, and make trips to Ghana’s historic sites, including: Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Kakum Rainforest, and Cape Coast Castle. Due to its prominent role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Cape Coast Castle is included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
In the capital city of Accra we learn about the process of drum making, sample local cuisine and attend an private performance and workshop with the National Dance Theatre of Ghana. All of this will help to put into historical and cultural perspective the similarities and differences between African traditional and popular culture, engendering a greater understanding of both indigenous and contemporary artistic expressions in West Africa.
Location & Dates
Ghana is known as the ‘Gateway to Africa.’ It was the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to achieve independence. One of the safest, most well developed countries in Africa, Ghana is an international tourist destination where English is the official national language. Its rich history and culture draws artists, musicians, dancers, anthropologists and ethnomusicologists from around the world to its beautiful, sun-kissed shores.
Summer Session Dates: Click HERE
Winter Session Dates: Click HERE
Students from all majors are encouraged to apply, including: African Studies, Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, Education, Art, Music, Dance, Culture, Studio Art, Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC). Participation in all lessons and workshops, and attendance at all performances is mandatory. Participants are required to keep a daily journal reflecting on the immersion experience in which they discuss issues relating to their role as a participant-observer in a foreign setting. Upon return to the U.S., participants will submit a final paper or project describing their study abroad experience. Credits are transcripted by UMass Amherst.
During the 2 weeks at the Dagbe Cultural Institute, program participants live in dormitory rooms on Dagbe’s campus. For the one travel week, the group stays at modern hotels with air conditioning.
Enrollment is open to students and professionals worldwide, as well as to the general public. No prior music or dance experience needed. If you are a UMass student, please meet with Carol Lebold at IPO for assistance in planning this program.