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Exchange Programmes

Centre for the Study of Public Scholarship, Institutions of Public Culture Programme, Emory University, Atlanta.

The CHR is the hub for the Cape Town committee of this programme, facilitating an exchange with the CSPS at Emory University. Through this exchange program the CSPS strives to develop an informed and nuanced understanding of how cultural interactions among different communities are and should be conducted in public spaces. The Institutions of Public Culture Programme provides opportunities, through fellowships at Emory University, for southern African scholars and staff in public institutions to think through their experiences and to work with peers and institutions in the USA.

In 2005 The Cape Town Workshop was organized that brought together all the fellows and students who had been on the programme since 2000. Some of the key issues that have arisen in the Institutions of Public Culture Programme were intensely debated. The concept of what was meant by ‘public' was a major concern. There was discussion on public reception (as in audiences) of cultural projects; how different publics were constituted; the differences between projects of popularization and projects that deal with representation in the public domain; and how one images and imagines one's publicness in cultural projects and institutions. The limits and possibilities of institutional frameworks was an overarching theme: what was possible and not possible within certain institutional frameworks (the different kinds of space available to talk from and the different languages required); how spaces can be created in public institutions to engage in more critical and productive ways; a need for an awareness of the changing nature of institutions and how those changes manifest themselves.

In 2006/7 the programme was funded with a generous grant from Emory University. It offered two research fellowships of 4 months in duration, which enabled fellows to work on a well-developed project dealing with the broad theme of Institutions of Public Culture, utilizing resources available at Emory. Dr Helen Moffett from UCT and Prof Premesh Lalu from UWC were fellows in 2007.

Public Culture, Heritage and Identity in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. SANPAD Funded project led by the University of Fort Hare Institute for Social and Economic Research The CHR is a partner in this research project that seeks to explore how to overcome the old, exclusive and divisive frameworks that aspects of culture and heritage in the Eastern Cape remain locked in. The overall aims of this project are to identify, explore and analyse the ways that various meanings of culture and heritage and related processes of identity formation are taking place through heritage sites, public culture, community museum initiatives and the visual in the Eastern Cape Province. Through developing a deeper and wider engagement with heritage meanings and the landscapes and environments of heritage production in the Eastern Cape province, the project seeks to develop alternative models of ‘restitutive heritages' through selected case studies that will critically reflect on the state of public culture and heritage institutions.

Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) at the University of Minnesota: A University of Minnesota -University of the Western Cape Collaborative Initiative for Graduate Education and Faculty Research Exchanges

The aim of the programme is to establish an innovative and sustainable partnership in graduate education and faculty research between The University of Minnesota and the University of the Western Cape. The project rests on three interrelated components: support for graduate training, collaborative teaching, and faculty exchanges.

Several members of the first cohort of have been invited to Minnesota to work on turning their dissertations into manuscripts or to register for further studies. Currently, the University of Minnesota has offered nine UWC graduate students the opportunity to visit the University of Minnesota for a semester. A group of academics from the University of Minnesota will spend time at the CHR from the beginning of 2008, participating in seminars, reading groups and graduate classes.

Each year ICGC and the Centre for Humanities Research will offer a required seminar for all participating students. The theme will vary from year to year and will be developed and taught jointly by faculty from both institutions and be offered in interactive television and web-based formats. Several broad substantive themes of crucial importance in contemporary global change which will be offered include:

The ways in which diversity is lived, represented, and contested through categories of gender, race, religion, and class, among others, in a context of heightened awareness of cultural differences globally;

The politics of cultural memory and its relationship to conflicts over community identity, space and resources;

The social and cultural bases of insecurity of communities;

The need to critically rethink categories and concepts that have come to be seen as foundational, such as culture and cultural practices and products, including literature, in a transnational context; and

Contested views of the adequacy of multiculturalism, post-coloniality, and notions of cultural sovereignty in the current context of diverse but linked “crises,” including crises in the academy such as in the humanities.

We are also planning joint supervision of dissertations, especially those related to the Humanities in Africa.