Call for Applications: Doctoral Winter School in Arts and Anthropology, Heritage-Making, and Uses and Museumification of the Past,

Call for applications: Doctoral Winter School in Arts and Anthropology, Heritage-making, Uses and Museumification of the Past, Cape Town and Johannesburg (July 22nd-  August 2nd, 2019), 

Deadline: March 30, 2019

The process of heritage-making in the context of a nation (re)building is multifaceted. In periods of historical transition, challenges are many and the fragility of the political context is fertile ground for revisiting the representation of the past. To understand these processes, an interdisciplinary engagement with contributions from history, anthropology, archeology, political science, art history and museology is necessary. Interdisciplinary collaboration, however, is not always easy to establish within the existing research institutional framework, built around separate disciplines. The main goal of this winter school is to create a doctoral training space and interdisciplinary exchange between researchers working on heritage- making process, uses and "museumification" of the past in connection with nation-building, or, more broadly, the construction of identities. 

The South African context is particularly rich and provides complex terrains for considering these issues as “a post-conflict zone whose relationships with the past and sites of memory and trauma are being closely scrutinized” (Meskell, 2012). Whilst Western Europe has long been considered as the laboratory of modern heritage practices, and Germany in particular as a fundamental example for the study of Geschichtsbeweltigung, recent historiography has shown to what an extent South Africa has become in the last decades the site of innovative theoretical approaches and practices (e.g. Nuttall and Coetzee 1998, Davison 1998, 2005, Legassick and Rassool 2000, Coombes 2003, Lalu 2009, Meskell 2011, Esterhuysen 2012, Hamilton et al.2012, Hamilton and Skotnes 2015, Peterson, Gavua and Rassool 2015, to give just some examples) that are breaking new ground in finding ways of coming to terms with difficult pasts, questioning fundamental issues of authority and representation.

The winter school takes the form of specialized training in social science research, developed in collaboration with different institutional partners, scholars, artists and curators working on colonial archives, collections and memories. The first edition was held in Istanbul, at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA) (June-July 2016), the second in Cape Town (July - August 2017), the third one in Porto-Novo (July 2018).  

Format of the winter school 

The school has several components

• lecturescovering both the methodology of research and topics such as the history of museums or urban policies in South Africa. In addition to this “classical” format of courses and workshops, lecturers will engage in daily informal discussions with students to help them redesign their research project, develop interview guides, find references and documentary sources, etc.

• a workshop at the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg(see below a short description)

• guided visits of the city (museums, contemporary art galleries and art centres, areas affected by contemporary transformations) and, if possible, guided visits to archaeological sites.

• field research project: teams of three students will conduct a research project (interviews, participant observation, research in the central or local national / private archives, etc.).

• a workshop of curatorial practice covering practices in the design of an exhibition, from the museographic project to the development of partnerships and mediation.

• The school will end up with the presentation of results of this preliminary research in a form chosen by the PhD researchers: an oral presentation, a scientific poster, a photo / multimedia exhibition (excerpts from interviews, video material), a documentary film project or a happening in a museum / artist's studio.

Scientific content:

The courses and the PhD research projects will be focused on three main themes, namely: 1. Contemporary artistic practices, 2. Urban policies and politics of memory, 3. Museographies.

1. Contemporary artistic practices: We will interrogate artistic practices operating in relationship with transformations of urban space, political or societal amnesia. By meeting contemporary artists and visiting museums and art spaces we will examine aesthetic, political and epistemological dimensions of the encounter between urban and museum policies and contemporary art. We will specifically interrogate the continuities and differences between art / “anthropological” object(s), as well as the performativity of the body and of the voice in the museum space.  

2. Museographies. We invite doctoral researchers to question the process of rewriting, renegotiation, and appropriation of the past from museum collections (ie. Imperial, colonial, apartheid, etc.). It aims to help students understand, explore and develop curatorial practices for the display of historical, “ethnographic” or art objects. The lectures and museum visits will problematize the power- knowledge inherent in the construction of archives, the production of sources and their use for the writing of history. We will specifically interrogate the continuities and differences between art / “anthropological” object(s), as well as the performativity of the body and the voice in the museum space.  

3. Urban policies and politics of memory. The courses will focus on the representations of the past in the urban fabric of Cape Town. They will also address various methodologies to “read” urban space, including visual ethnography, perspectives from science and technology studies, etc. The intention is to invite students to reflect on how urban space itself (re)presents different historical narratives and builds the cultural memory of the city and the “nation”: How does one rebuild the (post)colonial, post-apartheid city in South Africa? How specific “sites” (places, key events in the history of colonialism, slavery, apartheid) become realms of memory (Nora) or, in contrast, places of forgetting, of political or societal amnesia?

Convenors: Monica HEINTZ, Université Paris Nanterre; Bronwyn LACE, Centre for the Less Good Idea, Damiana OTOIU, University of Bucharest ; Anna SEIDERER, Paris 8 University ; Jane TAYLOR, University of the Western Cape. 

Lecturers: The lectures and methodological workshops will be given by specialists in urban, political and visual anthropology, arts and art history. (Non-comprehensive) list of lecturers: Andrew BANK, University of the Western Cape; Christine BARTHE, Musée du quai Branly; Felicity BODENSTEIN, Technische Universitat Berlin;Mark FLEISHMAN, Cape Town University; Kim GURNEY, African Centre for Cities; Monica HEINTZ, Université Paris Nanterre;Bronwyn LACE, Centre for the Less Good Idea ; Susan NEWTON-KING, University of the Western Cape; Damiana OTOIU, University of Bucharest ; Jo RACTLIFFE, independent artist ;  Naomi ROUX, University of Cape Town ; Anna SEIDERER, Paris 8 University ; Alexander SCHELLOW, Ecole de recherche graphique, Bruxelles Jane TAYLOR, University of the Western Cape; Paul TICHMANN, Iziko Social History Centre, Iziko Museums of South Africa; Ernestine WHITE, William Humphreys Art Gallery.

Workshop at The Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesbourg

The center aims to find the less good idea by creating and supporting experimental, collaborative and cross-disciplinary arts projects. It is a physical and immaterial space to pursue incidental discoveries made in the process of producing work, it follows impulses, connections and revelations. Itis though as physical space for artists to come together over two seasons every year and for curators to bring together combinations of text, performance, image and dance ( Season 6, the first intensive workshop ends on 26-27thof July 2019, Thiresh Govender (architect, urban researcher - and Sello Pesa (choreographer/performer and director of will attempt to pull performance out of the physical confines of The Centre and on to the streets of Joburg through a series of performed processions. For the students of the winter school this would be the “hands on” part of the visual anthropology classes, as some of they will be engaged in recording the event and follow it from the center to the streets, others will subsequently edit and turn it into a short documentary film. 
The doctoral researchers will have the opportunity to meet researchers (anthropologists, sociologists, art historians, etc.) and also artists, museum professionals, architects and urban planners. They will also benefit from the resources that will be made available by different local archives and museums. The PhD students will present and collectively exchange on their PhD research and on the field research projects.
Selection of Participants:

Prospective students should send a brief presentation of their doctoral research (2-3 pages plus bibliography and sources) and a CV, in English, by March 30th 2019 to will be notified of the issue by the April 15th, 2019. 

Participation in the summer school is free. PhD students must cover their own travel expenses. Additional funding covering travel expenses and accommodation (shared double room) is available for students from the region. When sending your application, please indicate if you require such assistance.
Winter school supported andorganized by:

·      Glissements de terrain. Les collections muséales réinvesties par le champ de l’art contemporainproject of Université Paris Lumières, Paris, 

·      The Centre for the Less Good Idea,Johannesburg,

·      Iziko Museums of South Africa, Cape Town,

·       University Paris 8, Saint-Denis, Laboratory Arts of images and Contemporary Arts (AIAC),

·       UPN/ CNRS, Laboratory of Ethnology and Comparative Sociology,

·       The Francophone Regional Center for Advanced Research in Social Sciences, University of Bucharest (CEREFREA),

  • French Institute of South Africa- IFAS Recherche, Johannesburg