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UK Research and Innovations (2014)

Cultural Rights and Kenya’s New Constitution

Culture Constitution Kenya

Titre : Cultural Rights and Kenya’s New Constitution

Pays/Région : Kenya

Durée : août 14 - sept. 17

Référence projet : ES/L011603/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

This collaborative and interdisciplinary research project is the first to document and analyse the impact of cultural rights provisions in Kenya’s relatively new (2010) constitution on Kenyan society and its heritage sector. The research team, which includes British, Kenyan, Canadian and South African scholars, aims to produce analysis, policy recommendations and empirical data that will be of use locally and internationally.

The constitution, approved in a national referendum in August 2010, enshrines a number of rights to culture (the constitution does not define the word) which Kenyans had not previously enjoyed. It also allowed for the devolution of government to 47 new counties, many of which are investing in cultural activities, often linked to tourism and marketing. Some county governments are also drafting their own cultural legislation. We have, since constitutional implementation began, witnessed a flourishing of engagement with culture across the nation, at both national and county level and by a wide variety of stakeholders - state and non-state.

The PI originally envisaged when writing the bid that citizens would use the constitution to bring claims for cultural rights, such as the return of ’ancestral land’ or special protection for indigenous groups, but with a few exceptions that has not happened. Reasons include the fact that most communities lack funding to pay lawyers’ fees. Also, recourse to the courts is not the only way of giving life to constitutional rights provisions. Hence the research focus has broadened to an exploration - via case and desk studies - of the different ways in which Kenyans are exercising their cultural rights, or engaging with ’culture’.

Lead Research Organisation : Open University

Financement : Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Budget  : £628 157

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 18 septembre 2023