Difference between revisions of "Study African Arts and Culture in Ghana"

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'''[http://www.woablog.com/2017/01/getting-to-knowing-each-other-through-music/ See this recent writeup in the Faculty of Art's blog].'''
'''[http://www.woablog.com/2017/01/getting-to-knowing-each-other-through-music/ See this recent writeup in the Faculty of Art's blog].'''
'''[[Ghana 2017 syllabi | See course syllabi here.]]'''
'''[[Ghana 2017 syllabi | See 2017 course syllabi here.]]'''
[https://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/fwa_mediawiki/index.php/Ghana_2013_syllabi See older 2013 syllabi here]

Revision as of 12:22, 22 August 2019

Ghana 2017: Music for Global Human Development, July 3 to August 11, 2017

Note: the 2017 summer program has concluded. The next program will likely be offered in 2020 or 2021 - stay tuned or write Michael Frishkopf for more information.

The Department of Music and the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology are proud to offer a new Ghana summer program for 2017 : Music for Global Human Development in West Africa, centered at the University for Development Studies in northern Ghana (the main campus is located in Tamale, capital of Ghana's Northern Region), preceded by a two days of initial orientation in Accra. The 9 credit (3 course) program will run from July 3 to Aug 11 2017, and offer credit for both the Certificate in International Learning and Certificate in Community Service Learning.

There are routes for both undergraduate and graduate study, and "Open Studies" students who are not enrolled in any university program. The summer program is available to anyone age 18 and up.

Click here to apply (http://bit.ly/ghanamusic17) (or visit the Horizons Portal and search for "Music for Global Human Development")

Note that $2250 in scholarship funding is available to the first 14 early applicants from the UofA - apply now! (Non-UofA students can receive $1000.)

See this recent writeup in the Faculty of Art's blog.

See 2017 course syllabi here. See older 2013 syllabi here

The 9 credit summer program comprises social science, humanities, and performing arts components and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Music and dance performance is central, but no musical experience or talent is required to succeed. CSL credit will be provided, as we work in partnership with a local NGO, Youth Home Cultural Group.

The program centers on the role of music (and sound, and all related performance arts -- dance, poetry, drama -- as well as visual arts, costume, design) towards promoting human development, either directly (by carrying specific development messages designed to change attitudes and behaviors, or indirectly, by fostering social cohesion, building civil society and strengthening identity & cultural continuity - see the Music for Global Human Development (M4GHD) project and -- for an example -- Singing and Dancing for Health, a recent project in Northern Ghana.

The University for Development Studies covers the spectrum of academic disciplines, with a focus on development. The 9 credit program, which will include aspects of the University's new Development Action Through Expressive Media (DATEM), will include three component courses: (1) African music and dance practice - Music x44; (2) African development (including some historical and cultural background to development issues today) with both classroom and field components; and (3) Music for Global Human Development, extending "music" to "expressive culture" and taking advantage of DATEM offerings (but focused on music and dance approaches primarily).

We will work with UDS faculty on full or half day sessions in order to learn about their research areas, and the ways they apply their research to practical development problems in Ghana's north - particularly in the domains of global health, education, nutrition and poverty alleviation, gender equality, peace and justice, and environment, with reference to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. We will volunteer with Youth Home Cultural Group to support their projects with children and youth in Tamale. Students will also work collaboratively on a music/global health project located in the village of Tolon - see Singing and Dancing for Health - designed to simultaneously address health and social issues. There may also be opportunities for medical students to substitute hospital-based training in Tamale for this segment.

During the course of this program we will spend time in urban and rural areas of Ghana's north, centered on the regional capital of Tamale, with an extended fieldwork stay in the village of Tolon, quite close to Tamale, where the Singing and Dancing for Health project is in progress, as well as a preliminary 2-day orientation period in Accra.

Excursions to sites of natural, historical and cultural interest, including the Mole wildlife preserve, the Larabanga Mosque, and other destinations in the vicinity of Tamale, Wa, or Navrongo are possible through optional weekend trips.

We will spend the first two days in in Accra, studying music, dance, and healing, and touring Accra, for a broader perspective on Ghana as a whole. We will then travel to Tamale, our base for the next five weeks, before spending the final week in a nearby village, Tolon. Weekends will provide opportunities for excursions around Ghana's north. Here is a map displaying these locations, as well as some of our potential travel destinations, with images. (see http://bit.ly/ghanamusicmap)

The program comprises 3 courses (9 credits): two in music (Music 144/444/544 "West African Music Ensemble", and Music 365/565 "Topics/Area Studies in Ethnomusicology") and one in interdisciplinary studies (INT D 325 and INT D 530: Development). No prior musical training or ability is required. Airfares are highly dependent on point of origin.


  • $1,596.24 for 9 UofA credits (3 semester courses)- for Canadians and Canadian residents (more for non-Canadians). Note: non-UofA students register through Open Studies.
  • $800 mandatory fees (attached to Music 365 and 565) - these will be used to cover room/board for the final week in Tolon and internal flights to/from Tamale, as well as additional programming.
  • $1050 room and board (or $30/day for 5 weeks -but you can easily reduce your food costs depending on where you take your meals; a local meal costs under $5; room averages under $14/day. Much less expensive than living in Canada!)

Total: $3,446.24 (more for non-Canadians and Open Studies)


  • international ticket to Accra: cost can vary greatly; from Edmonton likely to range from $1700 to $3000 and up, depending on timing and airline. Note that you may like to use the trip as an opportunity to explore other locations through stopovers (often free) in Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East. This is completely acceptable so long as you arrive in Accra by the start date, and don't depart before the final program day.
  • cost of visa/photos (Ghana requires a visa which you can obtain by mail from Toronto or Ottawa; be sure you have a passport not expiring imminently.
  • vaccines & insurance (if needed). Note: everyone requires a Yellow Fever vaccine - the vaccination card is required to obtain a visa and must be carried to Ghana for entry.
  • recommended: about $500 in additional cash (estimated) to cover incidentals, gifts, unforeseen emergencies, etc. (note: there are many ATMS for cash; bring your bank card)


  • The first 15 UofA students to apply will receive $1750 each; non-UofA students will receive $500 each.


  • grad route:
    • Music 565 "Music for Global Human Development in West Africa"
    • Music 544 "West African Music Ensemble"
    • INT D 530 "West African Development"
  • undergrad route:
    • Music 365 "Music for Global Human Development in West Africa"
    • Music 144 or 444 "West African Music Ensemble"
    • INT D 325 "West African Development"

Please contact me by email if you are interested and I'll put you on the list.

See below for information pertaining to the 2013 program, which was rather different in some respects (but still rather similar in others).


Welcome to the Ghana Music Wiki

This wiki is dedicated to the University of Alberta's Ghana 9 credit summer study abroad program, entitled West African Music, Dance, Society, and Culture.

The program comprises social science, humanities, and performing arts components, and is formally equivalent to three semester-long University of Alberta courses, available at both undergraduate and graduate levels. There are no prerequisites for these courses (in music or African studies, or anything else), or for the program as a whole.

Music and dance are central to the program, but as a gateway to broader understanding of African societies, rather than as an end in themselves. We will study a wide range of topics from a range of disciplines: linguistics, literature, drama studies, religious studies, politics, history... We also connect the study of West Africa to the study of the Americas through inclusion of pan-Africanism, and consideration of the "Black Atlantic".

In this wiki you'll find lots of program information, as well as reference materials - it's a repository of information about Ghana, West Africa, and Africa as a whole -- with lots of links to music, video, and text.

Please read on!

Questions? Please write Michael Frishkopf, michaelf@ualberta.ca.

Main pages contained in this wiki

The page you're now reading contains primarily news and resources about Africa, especially music and West Africa. Find out more about the program via the following links:

University of Alberta summer study abroad in Ghana: program overview

Preparing for the Ghana Program: what to do before you go

2017 program syllabi

2013 program syllabi, archived 

African News, Arts, and Culture