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.
SOCIAL JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
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.
Researchers at Stellenbosch University are making sense of the ‘transgenerational trauma’ phenomenon that occurs over generations. They explore the concept of violence and its effects on the lives of victims, survivors and their descendants, on the one hand, and perpetrators on the other.
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.
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.