Roundtable Academia and Communities: Experiments and Challenges in (re)Constituting, (re)Imagining and (re)Presenting Heritage in a Research Context

Date: 21 February 2024
Time: 09h00 – 13h00
Location: French Institute of South Africa
Address: 62 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2017

In conversation with the Reimagining Heritage, Archives and Museums: Today/Tomorrow convening and mentorship programme, IFAS-Research will host a roundtable. Titled Academia and Communities: Experiments and Challenges in (re)Constituting, (re)Imagining and (re)Presenting Heritage in a Research Context, the roundtable will bring together five presentations.

9h: Zahia Rahmani (INHA): “Artistic representation of non-European territories and their occupants: environment, art history and reverse shot” (Keynote speaker)

Algerian-born academic and author Zahia Rahmani is an art historian and writer of fiction, memoirs and cultural criticism. She is the director of the Art History and Globalization Research Program at the National Institute for Art History (INHA-Paris), an interdisciplinary program that focuses on contemporary artistic practices in a globalised world. She is also the author of a literary trilogy: Moze, 2003; Musulman,(Muslim) 2005 and France, récit d’une enfance, 2006, published by Sabine Wespieser Editor. In 2020, she was awarded the Albertine Book Prize for Muslim.

Seismography of Struggle: Towards a Global History of Critical and Cultural Journals, curated by Zahia Rahmani, is an itinerant exhibition and research project that highlights non-European critical and cultural journals as tools of resistance in anti-colonial and liberatory movements. Now at Zeitz MOCAA, the exhibition delves into the rich legacies of Black-led and anti-apartheid publications in South Africa, showcasing influential magazines like DRUM, Zonk! and Staffrider, alongside Sechaba, DAWN, and Mayibuye.

9h45-13h: Roundtable

Neo Muyanga (Centre for the Less Good Idea) and Anna Seiderer (University Paris 8) in conversation: “Muted colonial film archives”

Neo Muyanga is a composer and installation artist, and The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s Impresario. His research and performance interests include investigations and explorations of the aesthetics of protest song, with a particular focus on opera within the black community in South Africa, and more broadly concerning the history of musical storytelling in the global south.

Anna Seiderer is a lecturer in the Department of Art at the University of Paris 8, a researcher at laboratoire Arts des Images et art contemporain [AIAC/EPHA], an associate researcher at Laboratoire d’anthropologie des mondes contemporains [LAMC] and a member of the editorial board of the journal Slaveries & Post-Slaveries.

Neo Muyanga and Anna Sedeirer will discuss colonial film archives in the light of their respective research projects.

Noor Nieftagodien (Wits History Workshop, Univ. of the Witwatersrand): Soweto History and Archives Project (SHAP!)

Noor Nieftagodien holds the Chair in Local Histories, Present Realities at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), where he is also the director of the History Workshop. His interests center on aspects of popular insurgent struggles, public history, youth politics, and local history.

The aim of the Soweto History and Archives Project (SHAP!), in collaboration with community organisations and the Wits History Workshop, is to undertake and advance the work of researching, writing, recording and archiving Soweto’s history more systematically. The long-term objectives are to produce comprehensive histories of the township (mainly by publishing monographs and edited collections, as well as through exhibitions and documentaries) and to create a substantive and accessible archive.

Tammy Reynard, Amanda Esterhuysen & Meghan Judge (Origins Centre): “Whose Origins? Questioning heritage responsibilities between museums, communities and academia”

Tammy Hodgskiss is the curator of the Origins Centre. She is an archaeologist with a research focus past use of ochre and mineral pigments.

Amanda Esterhuysen is the Head of the Origins Centre and Associate Professor of Archaeology in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies.

Meghan Judge is an artist and lecturer at Origins Centre. She is currently setting up a transdisciplinary MSc in Science Communication that draws from creative methodologies to map the intersections of science, ecology and society.

Decentering the Centre is a concept that intentionally shifts grand object-narratives, and realises, instead, multiple ways for understanding objects through a plurality of perspectives that are constantly being redefined in the museum space. This panel intersects theories of knowing with theories of being to find an ethics that engages scientific knowledge production and practice within broader, sometimes unimaginable and often overwhelming concepts, events and lived experiences within Africa’s rich and complex heritage.

Melanie Duval (CNRS) & Lourenço Pinto (Sol Plaatje University): “ In the framework of a cosmopolitical approach, what does a photovoice project bring to research on heritage-making dynamics? ”

As a specialist in heritage and tourism geography, Mélanie Duval is the coordinator of the COSMO-ART project. She is based at the Edytem UMR 5204 CNRS Laboratory (University of Savoie Mont Blanc, France) and an honorary research fellow at the Rock Art Research Institute (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa).

Dr Lourenço Pinto is a Lecturer in the Heritage Department at Sol Plaatje University, Kimberley, South Africa. His research interests include rock art studies, gender, postcolonial theory and critical heritage.

COSMO-ART (The Cosmopolitan Approach as a New Paradigm for Rock Art Heritage Management in Southern Africa) is a French funded (AN – National Research Agency) research programme that proposes to develop a new approach to rock art management. The project aims to develop a strong holistic and integrated methodological framework to improve sustainable rock art heritage management and provide decision-making tools for heritage agencies.

Register your interest in the conversation here.