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Research Overview

Preliminary (unaudited) figures indicate that the Faculty set a new record for research output in 2017, producing 75,08 DHET subsidy units. This is a 215% increase on the 35,08 2016 return, and substantially exceeds the previous record of 51.25 units in 2015.

The 2017 submissions comprised 26.40 units from journal articles (from 16.33 in 2016, recalling the previous high of 24.83 in 2015) and 7.50 conference proceeding units (from 2.25 in 2016). There was a substantial increase in book and book chapter units, with 26.00 units from book submissions (up from 13.00 in 2016), and 17.50 units from book chapter submissions (up from 6.50 in 2016). Publication in international journals increased to 74% in 2017 from 45,9% in 2016, exceeding the former record of 70% achieved in 2015. There was also an increase in the number of research active staff in the Faculty. The number of NRF-rated staff remained stable at eight (from six in 2015) despite the resignation of Prof Amira Osman, as Prof Caroline Kihato was appointed as a Visiting Associate Professor in the GSA. The rated researchers in the Faculty are now Prof Kim Berman, Prof Leora Farber, Prof Federico Freschi, Prof Caroline Kihato, Prof Anitra Nettleton, Mr Alexander Opper , Prof Brenda Schmahmann and Prof Karen von Veh.

As befits a Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, creative work continued to enjoy high priority among the artists, designers and architects on the academic staff. Although two projects for the recognition of creative-work-as-research underwent a peer review process, only one was approved for subsidy. In 2017, the GSA also secured recognition of alternative forms of research from the University Research Council (URC) for the very specific and poorly understood nature of architectural research within South Africa. This paves the way for more research-related support from URC and increased appreciation of the research outputs of the GSA’s staff members, much of which has historically been discounted.

In addition to the creative work project that was officially recognised by the ad hoc committee of the URC, members of staff participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions (including exhibitions curated by staff members) nationally and internationally and completed several design projects.

Participation in national and international conferences included the following:

  • Mr Denver Hendricks (HOD Architecture) was invited to present a paper at De Montfort University, Leicester UK.
  • Prof Lesley Lokko (HOS, GSA) was an invited speaker at various international institutions, including the fifth All-Ireland Architectural Research Group (AIARG), Cork, Eire; as keynote speaker at the Women in Architecture International Conference, Virginia Tech University, Roanoake, USA; the Bartlett International Lecture Series, University College London, London, UK; the African Architecture & Pedagogy: Conversations on Health, Education and Shelter, Kigali, Rwanda; the UMA International Lecture Series at the University of Umeå, Sweden; Media & Modernity, Princeton University, USA; and the University of Applied Art, Vienna, Austria.
  • Prof Christo Vosloo (GSA) presented a paper at a conference in Hong Kong. Thiresh Govender (GSA) also presented a paper at the tenth Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism, Hong Kong.
  • Furthermore, Dr Desiree Smal (HOD Fashion Design) presented a paper at the Cumulus Conference in Kolding, Denmark. She also presented a paper, with colleagues Ms Jacky Lucking, Ms Neshane Harvey and Ms Lee de Wet, at the 2017 Design Education Forum (DEFSA) Conference, and Prof Thea Tselepis (Fashion Design) presented a paper at the Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference.
  • Prof Deirdre Pretorius (Graphic Design) was invited to present seminars to postdoctoral students at Goethe University, Frankfurt. Mr Brenden Gray (HOD Graphic Design) presented papers at two conferences including the International SOTL in the South Conference held at UJ. Ms Zamasele Nsele (Graphic Design) chaired a panel at the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) 17th Triennial on African Arts in Ghana, and Dr Adrie le Roux (Graphic Design) presented a paper at the International Journal of Art & Design Education (iJADE) Conference at the National College for Art and Design, in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Mr Angus Campbell (HOD Industrial Design) was invited to represent the Design Society Development (DSD) DESIS Lab as one of the forty international social innovation organisations to attend the Global Summit on Social Innovation in Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Ms Amanda Breytenbach (HOD Interior Design) presented two papers at the Cumulus Conference in India entitled ‘Letters to the Future’, and also presented a paper at the conference ‘Postgraduate supervision: Spaces, journeys and new horizons’ in Stellenbosch. Interior Design colleagues, Ms Giovanna Di Monte-Milner and Ms Ilse Prinsloo, presented papers at the 14th National Design Education Conference at the Tshwane University of Technology.
  • Mr Terence Fenn and Mr Jason Hobbs (Multimedia) presented papers at the Design Management Academy 2017 International Conference in Hong Kong; at the International Conference on Research into Design in Guwahati, India; and at the Information Architecture and the Philosophy of Information Conference in Oxford. Dr Ruth Lipschitz (Multimedia) presented a paper at the New Directions in Humanities Conference in London.
  • Mr David Paton (Visual Art) convened an international conference entitled ‘Booknesses’, which was accompanied by two prestigious exhibitions that he curated. He was invited to present a lecture at the Center for Book Arts in New York and was the keynote speaker at a Rhodes University conference and workshop. Prof Karen von Veh (HOD Visual Art) was awarded a fellowship at the Clark Foundation in the United States and was invited to give public lectures at Hartford University and at Macalester College in the USA. Prof Kim Berman (Visual Art) contributed to a research project on symbolic reparations using the arts with the University of British Columbia, Canada and the UJ Law Faculty, and was invited (with Visual Arts colleague Mr Gordon Froud) to attend a printmaking residency at Cill Railig project in Ballinskellig, Ireland. Mr Froud was also invited to be a resident artist at the Nirox Sculpture Park.
  • Prof Federico Freschi (Executive Dean) was invited to present public lectures at the Wits Art Museum, the University of the Third Age (Johannesburg), the KwaZulu-Natal Decorative Arts Society, and at Stanford University in the USA.