Andrew W Mellon Distinguished Scholar visits UP

Posted on September 25, 2015

In August 2015, the Information Design Division at the University of Pretoria (UP) welcomed Prof Audrey Bennett, an Andrew W Mellon Distinguished Scholar, to the Department of Visual Arts.

Prof Bennett, who visited the Department from 21 August to 5 September, is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a 1997 College Art Association Professional Development Fellow, and a current Fellow of the Australian Communication Research Institute. Her scholarly interests include the theory of and research on images across media, disciplines and cultures.

Prof Bennett’s visit was supported by the Visual Arts Department’s Visual Technologies project, which is funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. This project explores critical encounters with the digital, curatorial, archival, creative and theoretical dimensions of technology in contemporary society. Whereas the foci of the Visual Technologies project include the making and showing of, and writing about visual technologies that advance and improve the human condition, Prof Bennett focused on the latter during her visit.

She conducted two writing workshops, one of which was a research-related workshop for postgraduate students and staff in the Arts cluster, while the other, which focused on design education, was offered specifically for Information Design staff. She also delivered a plenary talk titled ’Design, play and social justice’ at the UP’s Merensky 2 Library. She discussed her collaborative research on the making of visual technologies that are aimed at the ethnic and intellectual diversification of STEAM education in the United States. Her presentation also included a discussion of a final-year BA Information Design curriculum project that is intended to improve health education for children in South Africa. The project is currently being used as a case study for a publication co-authored by Prof Bennett and two Information Design staff members, Ms Fatima Cassim and Mrs Marguerite van der Merwe, who also facilitated the design project.


- Author Faculty of Humanities

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