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The importance of art to the community

PHUKET: Kerrily ‘Kez’ Jennings has been working in the arts and education sector, both in Phuket and her native Australia, for a good many years, so it was only natural when she recently launched Oasis ed. Phuket.


By Jody Houton

Thursday 30 January 2014, 09:58AM


In a nutshell, Oasis ed. Phuket is further education for adults and children in Phuket,” Kez explains to The Phuket News, “We have courses, classes, workshops and private tuition in a number of areas including arts and crafts, photography, health, gardening, just about anything.

We look at what people are interested in and do our best to create a workshop to meet this need. Our motto is, ‘You want to learn it? We want to teach it!’”

Although Oasis ed. Phuket has only been running for a few months, Kez traces the germination of the idea to five years ago, when she was approached to put together and teach a Beginners Photography Workshop for staff at a resort complex in Phuket.

This led to me offering this same workshop to the general public, which led to creating new workshops and suddenly the ball was rolling.”

From its beginnings in the south of the island, Oasis ed. Phuket is now island-wide, offering classes at The Book Café, Atmanjai, Gecko School, Roseberry Center of Healing Arts, La Taverna Restaurant, and Boat Lagoon – they’re always on the lookout for new venues to host workshops.

Kez has been in Thailand for 10 years, but – like for many of us – that was never the original plan.

Thailand was actually supposed to be just the first leg of a 12 month world trip, but I didn’t fly any further.”

Kez spent her first few years here running aphotography gallery on a beach on Koh Chang, but before she arrived in the Land of Smiles, she had worked in adult and further education in Australia, training and helping to create programmes for disadvantaged teenagers and disabled adults.

For Kez, the ‘whole’ of what arts and education represents is greater than the sum of its parts.

Oasis ed. Phuket brings together people with similar interests. If you’re not interested in hanging out in bars or aren’t part of a school community or training in a gym, it can be pretty tough to meet new people on this island.

Central Phuket

Our classes are always a mix of various nationalities, which broadens experiences and often results in new friendships.”

Phuket’s unique culture and diverse mix of communities makes Oasis ed. Phuket all the more important says Kez, who refers to herself as having an “odd in-between life”.

As an expat in a Australian-Thai relationship in Thailand, I wobble along between the two worlds.

I see Phuket as an incredibly unique community, a different version of Thailand to the rest of the country, a hub of international coming and going.

Having a child helped me to see that I wanted to consolidate our community, create a stronger sense of identity, and help people to feel a sense of belonging and pride.”

Our aim for Oasis ed. Phuket is to grow as a learning institution that is accessed by all Phuketians and visitors alike,” says Kez.

We want to create a solid community hub for people to develop their interests and skills.”

If you would like more information regarding upcoming events and projects, visit: oasisedphuket.com

 

 

 

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