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Community Service, Stakeholder Engagement and Internationalisation


The principles of community service and good citizenship remain an integral part of the Faculty's teaching programmes. As in previous years, students in all departments in the Faculty were required to participate in at least one community project during 2015.

The Faculty received a number of international researchers or academics from institutions in the United States, France, Australia, Germany, Dubai and India. In addition, there were a number of national collaborations with a variety of institutions, including the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town, The Tshwane University of Technology, the Central University of Technology, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and the Greenside Design Center. As detailed in the Departmental reports, faculty staff at all levels were well represented on professional forums, with a number of instances of leadership roles in national and international professional bodies, as well as service to the national academic community in the capacity of assessors, moderators and external examiners.

In addition to the ongoing Faculty-wide Green Week and IOHA HIV/AIDS community engagement initiatives, some noteworthy community engagement initiatives in 2015 included the Vrededorp Community Engagement project. This project saw first year Architecture students assisting the local Fietas Museum in documenting the physical infrastructure of Fietas from an historical point of view; information that will also inform community discussion for future development in the area. The StudioATdenver, involving second and third-year Architecture students with a number of external partners, aims to support the development of frameworks that will support positive change, safety and stability for the larger community of Denver. A project entitled 'Urban Building' saw Architecture students engaging with the Johannesburg Land Company in a semester-long project that considered urban issues, development potential and community issues, and resulted in an exhibition of urban building proposals at The Sheds at 1Fox in downtown Johannesburg, as well as the production of creative street furniture placed on site.

First- and second-year Fashion students produced children's toys for the Golang Education Outreach project, which serves people living in the informal settlement of Zandspruit. As part of the ongoing community engagement project with the Salvation Army's Ethembeni Children's Home, an orphanage for approximately 60 infants, the Interior Design students designed and manufactured a series of mobiles. The project was registered with the CE office as a 'service learning' project.

Important stakeholder engagements in 2015 included students in the Faculty also collaborating in multidisciplinary teams to investigate perceptions around eco-mobility in Johannesburg as part of the Eco-Mobility Festival that was held in Sandton in October. This event was the second International Eco-mobility Festival, and was co-hosted by the City of Johannesburg and the international organisation ICLEI (Local Governance for Sustainability). Ms Amanda Breytenbach (HOD Interior Design and Vice-Dean) liaised with ICLEI and managed the implementation and execution of the student project. Teams of students from the departments of Architecture, Interior Design and Multimedia produced a series of short form videos on the theme of 'Follow the Journey – To Work'. Three user groups were investigated in the research, namely walking, cycling and public transport. The students produced twelve videos of which seven were shown in the 'Our History of Transport' exhibition at the Festival, and also posted online on the Eco-mobility Festival website (http://www.economobilityfestival.org/videos).

In partnership with Zendai South Africa and the UJ Confucius Institute, FADA hosted the display of Chinese artist Li Bin's 38-metre long painting A Salute to Mandela from 22 April to 9 May. Completed in 2014 as a tribute to Mandela's life and legacy, and first exhibited in Shanghai in July of that year at an event to celebrate the declaration of 2014 as the year of South Arica in China, this was the first time the painting had been shown in South Africa. Its installation attracted a wide range of visitors to the Faculty. These included a number of VIP guests, including former ministers in Mr Mandela's cabinet, the former Deputy President, as well as the Mayor of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Premier. The Dean organised a public colloquium, entitled 'Art, Democracy, Diplomacy and the Limits of Representation: Critical Reflections on Li Bin's A Salute to Mandela', in which distinguished academics debated issues of power and representation, and the role of mediated images of national heroes in the construction of the national imaginary. Also in May, the Faculty, in partnership with Renault and the UJ Alumni office, hosted a spectacular fashion show featuring FADA alumni, as well as winners of SA Fashion Week.

An increased number of staff and students were involved in international projects and exchanges during 2015. Key amongst these were Profs Judy Peter and Karen von Veh's international colloquium entitled 'Between Democracies 1989-2014: Remembering, narrating and imaging the past in Eastern and Central Europe and Southern Africa', held at the School of Tourism and Hospitality, with a curated exhibition at the Constitutional Court in Braamfontein. Both these events attracted a number of international speakers and participants to the Faculty. As noted above, Prof Karen von Veh from Visual Art curated an exhibition of South African art at the Beijing Biennale, assisted by co-curators Gordon Froud and Shonisani Netshia. Ms Robyn Cook (Graphic Design) was invited to attend an artist's residency at the Hordeland Kunstsenter in Norway, and Prof Deirdre Pretorius (HOD, Graphic Design) was awarded an Erasmus Mundus exchange scholarship to the University of Uppsala in Sweden. Mr Nduka Mntambo's (Multimedia) film If This Be a City was shown as part of the Johannesburg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Outbound student mobility also increased: In January, Prof Judy Peter (HOD, Jewellery Design & Manufacture) took a group of BTech students on a study tour to New York, where they attended a short learning programme at the Jewellery Institute of New York, as well as visiting a number of design schools, and having guided tours of high-end commercial jewellery stores. Yael Gold, a Master's student in Multimedia Design, presented a paper at the Universitas 21 Graduate

Research Conference in China, and was awarded an Erasmus INSPIRE Scholarship to attend the University of Groningen in the Netherlands for one semester. With the support of the Faculty Research Committee, Kegaugetswe Setusha, a Master's student in Graphic Design, presented a paper at the Design History Society Conference in San Francisco. Nine students from the Department of Graphic Design were sent on semester-long exchanges to institutions abroad.

The three Unit leaders in the postgraduate programme in architecture all took students on field trips to neighbouring countries: Prof Lokko took a group of eighteen students and two lecturers to Zanzibar, the first trip of a three-year research project directed by Prof Lokko into hybrid and creole cultures in locations around the coast of Africa. Prof Amira Osman took a group of twelve students and two lecturers to Nairobi to visit informal settlements and housing projects. Prof Osman also took the unit's top student, Simon Ngubeni, to the Future of Open Building conference in Zurich, where they presented a paper outlining the academic principles underlying the unit. Alex Opper, leader of Unit 1, took a group of four students to Luanda, Angola, to participate in the Fórum de Arquitetura de Angola competition. As noted above, the team's submission, in which they proposed the introduction and design of a public space into a dense informal settlement in inner city Luanda, was awarded first prize.

As regards recruitment initiatives, FADA representation at school visits succeeded both in providing information and counselling to prospective students, and in drawing learners, teachers and parents to the Faculty during the year. In addition, the Faculty implemented a campaign to engage directly with art teachers from its key feeder schools, inviting them to a workshop – at which acclaimed South African artist Diane Victor gave a demonstration of her 'smoke drawing' technique – and reception at the Faculty. The Dean and HODs invited industry stakeholders to student exhibitions, and to other events throughout the year. As part of the strategic drive to build the Faculty's visibility and stature, the relationship with the Johannesburg Art Fair established by the Dean in 2013 continued in 2015.

In order both to promote the Faculty and to foster closer alignment with the University's values, the Dean continued the series of public lectures that began in 2013 in which prominent public intellectuals in the fields of art and design are invited to address the core values of the University as they relate to the creative disciplines. Under the curatorship of Prof Brenda Schmahmann, who reconceptualised this series as the RADICAL (Rethinking Art and Design in Cultures and Localities) series, two prominent speakers were invited in 2015: Ismael Mohamed, Director of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and Prof Mongane Wally Serote. In his lecture, Prof Serote posed a challenge to the audience to think about the potential role design might play in enabling the ndumba (the place of consultation with a healer) to be reconfigured in the twenty-first century – a challenge that the Faculty will take forward in 2016. Both of these events were widely publicised and well attended, with the lectures later being podcast on the FADA website.

In this and other ways the Faculty ramped up its efforts to establish and entrench its presence and profile among all its stakeholders. All public events were publicised through various forms of media, including listings on the UJ and FADA websites and on external websites and social networks. The FADA Facebook page gained 2,539 subscribers (compared to 1,916 in 2014), while the FADA Twitter account became increasingly active, with 1,958 followers by the end of 2015 (compared to 1,392 followers at the end of 2014).