In a different networks of social relation you can create a different material culture. – Gui Bonsiepe

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Lecturing at KIST (Kigali Institute of Science and Technology)

I have been teaching in the Faculty of Architecture and Environmental Design, KIST, at the first and second Creative Design year class.

The main goal of my didactic program was to introduce the students to their cultural and productive environment and make them understand the benefits of design research in that context.

At the Fibres & Fabrics laboratory and the Design Material lesson the students were guided to approach materials and techniques. The educative goal was to combine theory and practice in order that the students can create a design mindset.

By studying textile weaving we realized frame loom and by making basketry weaving we worked in collaboration with the Umutako Iwaco Cooperative. Working with this cooperative, the students had an opportunity to make experiments with several materials: clay, metal, wood, fabric and banana leaves. The non-stop confrontation between theory and practice allowed the students to verify in a critical way their ideas of design and feasibility, developing their manual skills and stimulating their mind.

The lack of a pre-university education for what concerns drawing, technique and materials in Rwanda, set off the choice for practical studies and the learning by doing approach. Moreover, the direct approach to the artisans during the course triggered off a reflection on the relationship between design and craftsmanship.

The themes have been considered in the local cultural and productive context, both industrial and artisans, with visits to cooperatives and industries.

The result came up with a series of products realized by the students with the support of the artisans. From that moment on, some of the students started out to work with Umutako Iwaco Cooperative and to sell their own products.

Here some example of products made by students and artisans collaboration.


Artisan: Alexis Sindahera

Students: Denyse Mutumwe, Quinta Queen Murekatete, Arthur Hirwa


Artisans: Rosalie Musanabandi, Francois Hakizimana, Tharcisse Zimurinda

Students: Cynthia Akazuba, Christine Mukayiranga


Artisan: Emmanuel Mutsindashyaica

Student: Janvier Maniraguha


Artisan: Chantal Uwimana

Student: Alain Patrick Mwizerwa

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