Noha Sobhi, a participant from the Art Education in Egypt reading and research group, brought us these books to look at the recent history of Egyptian art education curricula in schools. Both books are called "Art Criticism and History of Art", the one on the left is for art teachers (Ed. 1963) and the one on the right for high school students (Ed. 2003). The first has a richer content on history of art, next to Egyptian art it refers to Ancient Syrian, Greek, Coptic, Islamic, Renaissance and Modern Europan Art (Surrealism and Cubism included), while the second focuses on Anicent and Modern Egyptian art only. Both books depicts Egyptian "folk" art, but the examples in the book on the left are more extensive. The differences found in the books are not related to the different audiences (one written for students, the other for teachers) but rather reflect changing discources in the Ministy of Education in two different periods.
Through out the last three months, we tried to look into the history of the creation of public elementary and higher arts education schools in Egypt. We are doing this through focusing on the establishment of The Egyptian Ornamentations School (which became Faculty of Applied Arts) in the first half of 20th century and the development of art education curriculums in primary schools during the same period. Now, we try also to examine the colonial influence on art education and pedagogies. Our research takes the case of Ramses Wissa Wassef in building his art centre as a model to explore the impact of western ideas on methodologies of teaching art and crafts in Egypt on both the governmental and non-governmental levels.
The Art Education in Egypt Reading and Research Group started through an open call in August 2016. The group meets to discuss, read and research the different histories, methodologies, and economies of art education in Egypt, with a particular focus on material published in Arabic. During September and October the group met twice a week to discuss the gathered material. Out of the discussions in the group a series of possible research strands such as "History of popular arts education", "Resistant or alternative art education" or "Entry exams for public art universities" developed that we now attempt to engage with deeper.