Citizen Science Research with Wits History of Art

Citizen Science Research with Wits History of Art

Citizen Research in History of Art Wits History of Art is reaching out to the depths of the webisphere for research assistance in a number of projects. Citizen Science is defined as “the systematic collection and analysis of data; development of technology; testing of natural phenomena; and the dissemination of these activities by researchers on a primarily avocational basis.”   If you or anyone you know can help us with one of the projects below please get in touch! All research used will be credited and acknowledged accordingly.   An Extended Biography of Great Zimbabwe As part of an on going investigation into the histories of Great Zimbabwe and its surrounds, Wits History of Art is making a call for any material related to the site. If anyone has historical photographs of the site, or particular information related to the site please get in touch with Dr Justine Wintjes at justine.wintjes@wits.ac.za Part of the project is a history of the Great Zimbabwe Hotel, which was opened in the 1930s and has hosted Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana of Wales. If anyone has any particular memories and in particular photographs of the hotel please contact Stacey Vorster at stacey.vorster@wits.ac.za Retrieving Rock Art Histories in Natal For several years Dr Justine Wintjes has been exploring the ways in which Southern African rock art has been dislocated from its surrounds. As part of this project we are calling for any photographs of the Royal Natal National Park Hotel or the Natal National Park Hostel in the 1940s. Particularly we are looking for images of the rock art at Ebusingata (eBusingatha) which...
Wits History of Art at the SAVAH Conference 2015

Wits History of Art at the SAVAH Conference 2015

Two pots, two pictures, two pairs, a figure, a garment and an animal: the object biographies panel at the South African Visual Art Historian’s conference, September 2015 In early September, Dr Justine Wintjes led a panel session at the annual SAVAH conference in Pietermaritzburg based on the postgraduate course, Writing Art’s Histories. The conference held in the Visual Arts Department of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal was centred on ideas of Power and Visual Culture. The Object Biographies panel was centred on the groundbreaking research of the award-winning course offered at the Wits History of Art department, which was transformed into a book and an exhibition. Wintjes introduced the panel with a reflection on the course from a pedagogical and conceptual perspective, highlighting the various mode and forums of learning and research developed out of this course that feeds back into and extends the institutional database of the Wits Art museum. Eight students then presented their various objects – two pots, two pictures, two pairs, a figure, a garment and an animal – with each student highlighting the key findings of their core research developed throughout the course. The seminar afforded an important opportunity for the students to present original research under the guidance of Wintjes and the other mentors of the project, Joni Brenner, Laura De Becker and Stacey Vorster. The presentation was well received and was applauded for its innovation and emphasis in returning the focus back to the object, which so often is denied or overlooked in daily...
Magaliesburg Writing Retreat (2015)

Magaliesburg Writing Retreat (2015)

  In early June 2015, postgraduate students in the ‘Writing Art’s Histories’ course accompanied Justine Wintjes, Joni Brenner, Stacey Vorster and Laura de Becker on a writing retreat to an incredible yoga retreat nestled in the rolling hills of the Magaliesburg. The retreat was possible because of funding awarded to the department in collaboration with Wits Art Museum through the Vice Chancellor’s team teaching award won for the 2014 Object Biographies project which resulted in Lifelines: Object Biographies from the Standard Bank African Art Collection. The retreat afforded an important mentoring opportunity for postgrad students as well as a head start on the 2016 edition of the on-going Object Biographies project, in which students are given the task of writing a biography for under-researched objects in the WAM collection. As part of the retreat students met with South African artist Deborah Bell who lives on an adjoining plot. Serendipitously Bell brought along a Nelson Mukhuba sculpture in her collection, which she recently realised had been a significant influence on her work. It was an amazing opportunity to see object biographies in action! In addition, students were able to visit a nearby farm called Pretty Place on which hundreds of Rock Art engravings were discovered in the last few decades....
Wits History of Art and WAM win the VC Teaching Award

Wits History of Art and WAM win the VC Teaching Award

The 2014 Vice-Chancellor’s Team Teaching Award was made to the “Lifelines: Object Biographies from the Standard Bank Art Collection” project in the Faculty of Humanities – a collaboration between the Wits Art Museum and the Wits School of Arts’ Department of History of Art. The project involved tracing the history of art objects in the Museum and using historical and contemporary objects to advance teaching and learning. “The team’s multi-modal pedagogical approaches to postgraduate teaching which included reading, experiential engagement with objects, and the critical thinking and creativity that is required for curatorial activities, was found to be innovative,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Prof. Andrew Crouch. Find out more about Lifelines: Object Biographies from the Standard Bank Art...
The Frobenius Archives in the Southern African Landscape

The Frobenius Archives in the Southern African Landscape

In 2014, Dr Justine Wintjes was awarded a three-year Thuthuka grant by the NRF for her project entitled, Archaeology and Visuality, Imaging as Recording: Returning the Frobenius Archives to the Landscape. Materials generated in the course of archaeological fieldwork – texts, pictures, objects – are typically disaggregated from their site contexts and fractured into archives; only a small sample ends up in publications. But something from these archives can be pieced together – images / image fragments / images as fragments of a larger whole – to reveal a wealth of information about the sites in their original configuration on the one hand, and about different ways of seeing and representing on the other. In my doctoral thesis I explored a methodology of collating archival materials, thereby returning them to their site contexts using visual and spatial principles, in relation to the recording histories of two severely damaged rock-painting sites in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg. In the present project, I aim to develop this methodology further and apply it more systematically to a greater number of sites. I will deal with nine other rock art sites in KwaZulu-Natal, and eleven in Lesotho. Furthermore, I will apply this methodology to a different kind of site: Great Zimbabwe. All these sites lend themselves well to my archival restoration approach because of the depth of their research histories and the changes they have experienced over time. My doctoral research was confined to two-dimensional reconstructions, and in this Project I propose to explore the applicability of the methodology to a 3D realm. Another key thread by which I have designed this project – that...