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Prof Schmahmann Brenda

Prof Schmahmann Brenda
Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture
FADA Management
Professor

Contact Details
FL118
011 559 1705
APB

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Lower Ground Floor, FADA Building, APB

​​Department:  Research Professor Deans' Office

Qualifications: BAFA, BA Hons (Arts History), MA (Art History), PhD (Art History) 

Short Bio: Brenda Schmahmann took up a position as Research Professor in FADA in March 2013. She has three decades of academic experience. Previously Professor of Art History & Visual Culture and Head of Fine Art at Rhodes University, she was formerly a staff member in the History of Art Department at the University of the Witwatersrand. Active in research and professional bodies, she served an extended term as the visual arts expert on the National Research Foundation’s panel rating scholars in the Performing and Creative Arts, and was appointed to Chair, with the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), a Working Group to make recommendations about the principles and processes to be deployed to accredit and reward all forms of creative and non-conventional research. A council member (and former president) of the South African Visual Arts Association (SAVAH), she is book-review editor for the art history journal De Arte.    

Recent Achievements: A B-rated NRF scholar who was a winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Book Award at Rhodes University, where she was also ranked amongst the institution’s top thirty most productive researchers, she has recently been appointed to the Humanities Standing Committee of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF). 

Selected Recent Publications:

Books

2013  In press: Brenda Schmahmann. Picturing Change: Curating     Visual Culture at Post-Apartheid Universities. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

2006  Brenda Schmahmann. Mapula: Embroidery and Empowerment in the   Winterveld. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing.

2005  Marion Arnold (Loughborough University, UK) and Brenda     Schmahmann (Eds.) Between Union and Liberation: Women Artists in   South Africa 1910-1994 (Aldershot, Hampshire, UK: Ashgate    Publishing.  

2004  Brenda Schmahmann, Through the Looking Glass: Representations of   Self by South African Women Artists. Johannesburg: David Krut  Publishing.

Journal Articles

2012  ‘Developing Images of Self: Childhood, Youth and Family     Photographs in Works by Three South African Women Artists.’ African   Arts 45 (4): 8-21, Winter  in a special issue on ‘Gender and South    African Art’, Brenda Schmahmann co-edited with Kim Miller (Wheaton   Colleg e, MA.,USA).​

2011  ‘Bringing Cecil out of the Closet: Negotiating Portraits of Rhodes at    Two South African Universities’, De Arte 84: 7-30.

2011  ‘After Bayeux: the Keiskamma Tapestry and the Making of South    African History’. Textile: The Journal of Cloth & Culture 9 (2): 158-192,   July.

2011  ‘More than a “publish or perish” dilemma: Research funding and the   creative arts at South African universities’, Focus 61: 29-36, June. 

2010  ‘A Framework for Recuperation: HIV/AIDS and the Keiskamma    Altarpiece’, African Arts 43 (3): 34-51, Autumn.

2009  ‘Face to Face Negotiations: Portraits of leaders at three South African   universities’, De Arte 80: 14-36.

2008  (with John Walters), ‘Against the Picturesque: Christine Dixie’s    Bloodspoor’, De Arte 77: 36-51, April.

2007  ‘Needled women: Representations of male conduct in Mapula    embroideries’. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture 5 (1): 10-33,  Spring.\

2007  ‘Figuring Maternity: Christine Dixie’s Parturient Prospects’. De Arte 75:   25-41, April.

2006  Ceramic Sculptures by Wilma Cruise: Fragments and Feminist    Transgressions’ Interpreting Ceramics 8, October.

2005  ‘Stitches as Sutures: Trauma and Recovery in Works by Women in the Mapula Embroidery Project’, African Arts 38 (3): 52-65, 94-96,    Autumn.

Chapters in Books

2013  ‘Stitched up Women – Pinned down Men: Gender Politics in Weya and Mapula Needlework’ for African Art and Agency in the Workshop edited by Sidney Kasfir and Till Forster. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2010  ‘Staging Masculinities: Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” Video’, in    Drewett, Hill, S and Karki, K (eds.), Games without Frontiers: Peter    Gabriel from Genesis to Growing Up. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 57-69.   Reprinted in paperback in 2012.\

2010  (with Kim Miller) ‘Women’s Cooperatives and Self-Help Artists’ in    Berg Encyclopedia of Dress and Fashion, Volume 1 (on Africa) edited   by Joanne Eicher and Doran H. Ross. Oxford and New York: Berg, pp.   533-539. 

2010  ‘Cast in a Different Light: Women and the ‘Artist’s Studio’ theme in    George Segal’s Sculpture.”  In Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner,   eds.  The Studio Reader: on the space of artists. Chicago: The    University of Chicago Press, pp. 220-236.

2009  ‘Bodily Issues as Subject Matter: Abjection in the Works of Penny    Siopis and Berni Searle’. In Baker, Charlotte (ed.) Expressions of the   Body: Representations in African Text and Image. Oxford: Peter Lang,   pp. 97-120.

2009  ‘Into the Breach: Christine Dixie’s Birthing Tray – Honey’, in Du Preez,   Amanda (ed.), Taking a Hard Look: Gender and Visual Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar’s Press, pp. 19-36.

Exhibition Research Project

Brenda Schmahmann conceptualised and organised an exhibition of self-representations by South African women artists, entitled Through the Looking Glass (and which was accompanied by my book of the same name) which toured the country to four museums between July 2004 and June 2005. Its schedule was: 

July 2004   Grahamstown and Alumni Galleries in the Albany History Museum, Grahamstown 

Sept – Dec 2004 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth 

Feb – March 2005 Durban Art Gallery 

April – June 2005 Standard Bank Art Gallery, Johannesburg

Recent Conference Papers and Participation:

2013  Forthcoming: ‘Re-visioning the Academic Archive: The Rhodes 

University Tapestry’, Utopian Archives: Past and Futures, University of   East Anglia,  Norwich, 16-17 May.

2012  ‘Reworking the Ghent Altarpiece in the Keiskamma Art Project’s    Creation Altarpiece’, Kevin Carroll Conference on African Christian Art,  Dromantine  Conference and Retreat Centre, County Down, Northern   Ireland, 5-7 October. 

2012  ‘Embroidery the Facts? Markets and the subject matter of works by the   Mapula project in South Africa’, 15-20 July. 33rd CIHA Congress on The Challenge of the Object, German National Museum, Nuremberg. 

2012  ‘Memories of Childhood in the Works of South African Women Artists’   SAVAH conference, 3-5 July, University of South Africa.  

2011  “Bringing Cecil out of the Closet: Portraits of Rhodes at two South    African Universities”, paper presented at the Art Council of the African   Studies Association (ACASA) Triennial in Los Angeles, 23-26 March.

2011 Co-convened (with Shannen Hill, University of Maryland)     “Transformation in South African art and culture”, panel at the  ACASA Triennial in Los Angeles, 23-26 March. 

2011   “Gender in the Keiskamma Tapestry”. Paper presented at the    CIHA/SAVAH colloquium on Art and the Global South at the University   of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 12-15 January.

2011  Convened “Unsettling Hierarchies: Engagements with gender in art of   the Global South”.  Panel I convened at the CIHA/SAVAH colloquium   at the University of  the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 12-15 January.

2009    “Representing HIV/AIDS in South Africa via Embroidery: The    Keiskamma Altarpiece”. Conference on “Embroidery and Story Telling”   hosted by the English Department, University of Rouen, France,    December.\

2009    “A Framework for Recuperation: HIV/AIDS and the Keiskamma    Altarpiece” at the SAVAH conference at the University of Pretoria, July.

2008  “Against the Picturesque: Christine Dixie’s Bloodspoor”, SAVAH    conference at the University of Stellenbosch, September.

2007   “Representations of Maternity in Christine Dixie’s Parturient     Prospects”, Gender  and Visual Culture conference at the University of  Pretoria, 20-21 June.

2007   “Attentive Fathers and Loving Husbands in Works by Women in the Mapula Embroidery Project” at the ACASA triennial conference in Gainesville, Florida, USA, in March.​