n South African Journal of Higher Education - Exploring the transformative potential of collaborative art projects in South African Higher Education

Volume 29, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article explores the potential of visual art projects in negotiating social transformation within the context of a South African higher education institution (HEI). The experiences of students and staff involved in three collaborative visual art projects initiated at Stellenbosch University (SU), Stellenbosch, South Africa from 2013 to 2014 were explored through interviews, observations and reflective writing. It was found that through harnessing the medium of art as critical dialogic tool operating amidst the embedded differences and divides of the past, institutional culture can be re-imagined and aspects of critical citizenship, particularly tolerance of difference and democracy, can be realised within the collective university community. In conclusion, it is suggested that visual art projects of this kind seem to have the potential to access what Bhabha (1995) terms the 'Third Space' and to facilitate transformative learning. It can play a valuable part in negotiating social transformation in South African higher education.

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