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Media Statement by Dr Rene Smith, Executive Dean (Acting) of the Faculty Arts and Design at the Durban University of Technology

Media Statement by Dr Rene Smith, Executive Dean (Acting) of the Faculty Arts and Design at the Durban University of Technology


DUT invites all members of the media to its two-day Arts & Design Digital Festival which kicks off from Friday (12 September 2014) to Saturday (13 September 2014) at the University’ City Campus.

Themed: Democracy 2020, the festival will showcase student and staff creative talent. On Friday, the Festival begins at 5pm. On Saturday, it will begin at 12h00.

Keeping in line with the theme, students and those involved were encouraged to reflect on the 20 years of South Africa’s democracy, and to begin a process of envisioning the next 20 years.

Festival Director Dr René Smith; Executive Dean (Acting) of the Arts and Design Faculty at DUT said, “We are very excited about launching this festival as a showcase of the creative industries and as a catalyst for a sustained engagement with technology across faculty. As a contemporary faculty, we are expected to explore and engage with various facets of ‘digital’ in our curricula as well as to promote collaboration and interdisciplinarity”.

DUT students have explored a cross-pollination of creative ideas across arts, design and performance departments, such as fashion designers working with graphic design students or video artists working with journalism students.

“A future for arts and design that not only includes digital, but which values creativity and discovery within and across disciplines”, said Dr Smith.

Suzy Bell, the Festival Curator said the Festival aims to be fresh, conceptual and contemporary; reflecting the edgy but socially engaged energy of the youth and their creative exploration of the digital age. “The festival philosophy is about highlighting and celebrating the notion of sharing, by creating meaningful collaborations and artistic experimentation to stimulate creative entrepreneurship,” said Bell, who is known for her Red Eye @rt initiative at the Durban Art Gallery.

The festival programme includes a Film Festival, performance art, a QR code exhibit, live arts blogging and arts tweeting. For design-savvy shoppers, the creative entrepreneurs taking part in a DIY (Design it Yourself) Pop-Up Art Store are selling students’ work ranging from fashion, to full-colour digital prints on cushions and tote bags, to original jewellery designs.

Art for Humanity, an organisation which engages with cultural production, specifically in the visual arts, to promote human rights awareness regionally and globally, will engage with the Bill of Rights and printmaking students will cross-pollinate poetry with art. There will be an open Poetry and Music Mic, hip-hop dance melting with izangoma from students, as well as a digital excerpt from Dance Umbrella by young dance choreographer Mdu Mtshali and two plays, Same Difference and Antidote from the Drama Studies Department.

“This festival is about students and staff creating artworks and art installations that offer a multi-sensory experience encouraging digital engagement,” said Sharon Zoepke, Graphic Design Lecturer and Festival Task Team Chairperson.

The festival also includes dialogue and discussion sessions and the partnership with ‘Pecha Kucha’ promotes the sharing of ideas and images in a fun and creative manner. “The Faculty of Arts and Design is dynamic, contemporary and engaging. The Arts campus of DUT is located in the City, where staff and students navigate space and place in a way that reflects a university embedded in its local context. We seek to promote a culture of meaningful engagement amongst ourselves as the DUT community and the varied communities around us,” said Dr Smith.

For interviews and images, please contact Noxolo Memela.

The details of the Arts & Design Digital Festival are as follows:

Date: Friday, 12 September 2014
Time: 5pm to 9pm

Date: Saturday, 13 September 2014
Time: 12pm to 10pm

Venue: DUT City Campus, Corner of Dr Pixley Ka Seme (formerly West) Street and Julius Nyerere (formerly Warwick) Avenue.
Entrance: Free

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