Litema artivism: Community engaged scholarship with international online learning




architecture, community engagement, Collaborative Online International Learning, COIL, litema art, service-learning, sustainable development goals


The misconception that online learning and teaching for the building sciences is ineffective has been proven wrong. A blended learning technique, combining service-learning activities and research (community engaged scholarship) with Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), has shown great learning and teaching possibilities on an international digital platform. This article considers how community engaged scholarship, and COIL can support an international learning experience celebrating rural art and architecture in central parts of South Africa. The research used a qualitative Participatory Action Research approach and Social Learning Theory framework. Combining practical outcomes in service-learning activities with collaborative international desk research provided a new perspective of litema wall decorating art in rural parts of the eastern Free State Province. These activities developed into a collaboration opportunity as a COIL exchange. A novel conceptual service-learning approach requires good communication and networking, clear agendas, and dedicated staff and students. The study merged service-learning activities by South African architecture students at the University of the Free State with literature from American art history students from Colorado State University through a COIL that resulted in a collaborative exhibition of research findings. The study follows the United Nations’ 1) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of quality education and gender equality and 2) the “Art-Lab for Human Rights and Dialogue” that intervenes ethically for human rights as “activist” acts of care for rural domestic art.


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How to Cite

Bosman, G., Venter, A. . and Mabe, P. . (2023) “Litema artivism: Community engaged scholarship with international online learning”, Acta Structilia, 30(1), pp. 185-211. doi: 10.38140/as.v30i1.7336.



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