Advances in forensic art explore and preserve our common humanity

In her work on projects aimed at restoring personhood for missing and unidentified people of the past — both recent and ancient — Dr Kathryn Smith, Departmental Chair of Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University (SU), is unearthing shared histories and untold stories through art, science, and collaborative work.

Forensic facial imaging laboratory promotes interdisciplinarity

Stellenbosch University (SU) is the first tertiary institution in Africa to offer research and casework expertise in forensic facial imaging, a critical tool in human identification. VIZ.lab is an imaging laboratory based in SU’s Department of Visual Arts. The laboratory was launched by Dr Kathryn Smith — an interdisciplinary visual artist and curator — and Pearl Mamathuba, an academic researcher.

Music archives promote sociocultural understanding

Prof Stephanus Muller is the director of the Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University (SU). Research done by this acclaimed writer and academic has led to the establishment of the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) at SU. Muller spoke to us about his research, the founding of DOMUS, the role of music archives, digital humanities and what lies beyond.

Cape Colony economic history project most extensive of its kind

How was wealth created in the Cape region of South Africa during the time it was governed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC)? For the past seven years, this has been a central research question posed by the economic historians of the Cape of Good Hope Panel, the flagship project of the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa’s Past (LEAP). This laboratory focuses on the quantitative study of African economic and social history.

Digital advancements expand Africa’s economic history

Interdisciplinary research at Stellenbosch University shows that a topic such as the economic history of South Africa in the colonial era has substantially more to it than can be claimed by research done in a single traditional subject area. Moreover, it shows that such topics can now be unlocked on a scale previously impossible.

Remembering the historically forgotten with new technology

The innovative use of technology in the Uncharted People project is helping researchers bring to light the previously unexplored lives of those that were marginalised and overlooked. Before, entire communities served merely as a static backdrop to the history of politics and the powerful few.