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Thursday, April 14, 2016


(Image Credit: SAHA/Gille de Vlieg)

Approach: Cultural Production in a Shifting Social Context opens at the KZNSA Gallery on April 19.

Considering the resurgence of social engaged creative practices in the South African context, this exhibition presents work of three organisations which use creative practice as a tool to exploring and understanding the various and multiple social realities of contemporary South Africa. It features a programme of projects that have developed methodologies and approaches that reflect, interrogate and explore the social complexities brought about by specific social, economic, political and historical conditions.

The exhibition and programme explore some of the complexities of participatory practice as invited organisations often work in an interdisciplinary manner aimed at shifting more conventional understanding of participatory and community engaged practice. Through a focus on the production of knowledge each of the organisations explore, develop and reflect on methodologies and approaches that take into careful consideration the contextual constraints they are located in. By acknowledging that the outcomes of such processes need to serve multiple agendas, and benefit the multiple communities engaged in this process of producing knowledge, the notion of accountability is central to the process of ethical collaboration.

Partnering organisations are The South African History Archive (Johannesburg), SPARCK (Cape Town) and Urban Futures Network (Durban). For more information on SAHA and SPARCK visit (SAHA) and (SPARCK).

The Urban Futures Centre (UFC) does not operate as a traditional research centre but rather as a networked hub of projects and partners. Its capacity lies in bringing together a network of scholars, practitioners, civil society groupings and individuals who are interested in the future of cities. The UFC is a deliberative and practice oriented ‘space’ for collaboratively designing (in the broadest sense) cities and urban settlements that are aesthetically pleasing, equitable, socially just, humane, resilient, and fit for purpose. In order to achieve this, the UFC recognises the importance of taking stock of the needs, uncertainties and dreams of the people that occupy city spaces across the problematic binaries of formal/informal and legal/illegal. Central to the projects at the UFC is the use of an imaginative lens to think about non-traditional processes and solutions to urban challenges. Such an approach demands an inter-disciplinary networked approach. The UFC currently works on combined research and engagement projects addressing issues of social housing, homelessness, drug use, policing, racial identities, racism, urban security and methodologies for urban planning. As far as possible, city dwellers most affected by ‘urban dilemmas’ are actively involved in problem identification, problem resolution and in project planning. Underlying all the UFC’s activities is a concern with listening to, and collectively making improving in, the everyday lives of urban dwellers. For more information visit

Curated by Vaughn Sadie, the exhibition is accompanied by an extensive programme of events. The exhibition and programme is generously funded by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC)

Approach: Cultural Production in a Shifting Social Context opens at 18h00 on April 19 and runs until May 8 at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA), 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban. More information on 031 277 1705, fax 031 201 8051 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit