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Exciting New Book for the Siyazama Project

Exciting New Book for the Siyazama Project

An exciting new book on the Siyazama Project; led by Professor Kate Wells an Associate Professor and Senior Graphic Design Lecturer at the Durban University of Technology will be launched at DUT’s Hotel School on Tuesday, 13 March.

Titled SIYAZAMA Art, AIDS, Education in South Africa, the book launch will coincide with a Faculty Lecture by Professor Jackie Guille who is the Design supervisor and Professor at the University of Northumbria/Newcastle, London.

Profs Guille and Wells have worked together many times in Uganda and in South Africa, in rural craft design; community and development.

Housed at the Department of Graphic Design at DUT, the Siyazama Project and its producers communicate and spread awareness on HIV/AIDS through creative workshops, local and international exhibitions, museum collections, publications and ongoing research activities. The project has exhibited at numerous South African art galleries as well as abroad.

The Siyazama beadwork collection was on view at the Michigan State University museum where Prof Wells conducted several on-site presentations to Faculty, medical students and museum staff during 2007 and 2008. This exhibition generated a wide range of interest and has resulted in subsequent requests to ‘travel’ the exhibits to other museums in the USA.

“It was at this point that a book was deemed urgent in order to cascade the correct information about the project. The book is intended to travel with the beadwork collection,” said Prof Wells. Together with Profs Marsha MacDowell, C. Kurt Dewhurst and Marit Dewhurst, of Michigan State University Museum, the book started to take shape over many emails and Skype sessions.

Prof Wells said the book also explores the project visually and photographically. The voices in the book are people who have contributed to the project in a substantial manner over the years of the project.

“The new book contains information about other arts in health activities in South Africa and this includes The African Art Centre, Hillcrest AIDS Centre, Umcebo Trust, Artists for Humanity, and others. With all the new projects going on in Siyazama, it seems likely that a further book edition is imminent,” said Prof Wells.

Currently, the Siyazama Project is actively engaged in a new design developmental project with ‘Editions in Craft’ from Sweden. For several years now, Renee Padt and Ikko Yokoyama of ‘Editions in Craft’ have been to DUT to work with the rural craftswomen. Their recent design collaborative with the three-girl design team called FRONT was responsible for producing the highly acclaimed Story Vases. “These have caused a stir worldwide and are proving hugely popular in upmarket décor settings. Funding has been secured to continue this important work with Siyazama,” said Prof Wells.

For further comment kindly contact Professor Kate Wells on

Date : Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Time : 18:30
Venue : Hotel School Restaurant, Ritson Campus, Durban University of Technology

Faculty Lecture

Titled Success is a journey, Not a Destination, Prof. Jackie Guille’s (Design supervisor and Professor at the University of Northumbria/Newcastle, London) Faculty Lecture examines the multiple internal and external factors that shape the innovative capacity in the craft sector, as well as entrepreneurial practices that influence and impact sustainable growth in the sector. She explores the challenges of collaboration between ‘external agents’ – be it designers, design institutions, government agencies, trade organisations or international brands – and grass-roots enterprise.

“Trade in handicrafts has been conducted over the decades and is embodied in the cultural heritage of communities across Africa and India. Arguably today’s commercial exploitation represents a threat to the authenticity of this cultural heritage because it inevitably changes the form and function of the resultant artefacts. Craft is poised between the rich legacy of traditional practice and the demands of evolving fashions. A radical shift is needed in how we think about collaboration and also how we shape and perform innovation in order to develop an approach that enables the artisan to take ownership of the process,” said Prof Guille.

Drawing upon two decades of research focused on craft enterprise in Sub-Saharan Africa and India, Prof Guille will consider the merits of differing participatory models and methodologies employed to support sustainable development in the craft sector during the Lecture.

For further comment kindly contact Professor Jackie Guille on
Date : Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Time : 12:00
Venue : Arthur Smith Hall, City Campus, Durban University of Technology

Pictures of the SIYAZAMA Art, AIDS, Education in South Africa book, Professors Kate Wells and Jackie Guille are available on request.

Issued by
Sinegugu Ndlovu
Media Officer
Durban University of Technology
031 373 2845