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On 5 June, the eve of the centenary of UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, the CCA hosted a public lecture and a tour of the Old Medical School – the first Medical School building in Africa and now home to the CCA.

The Center for Documentary Studies, founded in 1989 at Duke University, offers an interdisciplinary program of instruction, production, and presentation in the documentary arts—photography, film/video, narrative writing, audio, and other creative media. Much more than a traditional educational center, CDS encourages experiential learning in diverse environments outside the classroom, with an emphasis on the role of individual artistic expression in advancing broader societal goals.

Clanwilliam is a small town located in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape of South Africa. For over a decade, Fairheads International Trust Company has sponsored art related projects in Clanwilliam, culminating in exhibitions, performances and lantern parades through the town.

Unisa worked with the CCA on the digitisation of the Bleek and Lloyd archive, providing digital copies of Lucy Lloyd’s Kora notebooks and Dorothea Bleek’s correspondence in their collection.

The McGregor Museum holds some of the Stow collection of rock art tracings and correspondence which was conserved and digitised by the CCA, and has assisted with the tracking down of various elusive items in the Stow archive.

The Western Cape Provincial Archives and Records Service holds important documents relating to the establishment of a Magistracy in the Northern Cape in the historically contested area between the indigenous San and the Dutch settlers.

Similarly to Iziko South African Museum, the CCA’s relationship with the NLSA is founded on the need for conservation and digitisation of valuable heritage collections. The CCA conserved, digitised and published material from the NLSA’s Bleek and Lloyd archive and Stow archive holdings.

Michaelis and the CCA have a very collegial relationship with the SANG, regularly inviting its staff to events at Michaelis. Work by many of the Michalis staff and alumni are held in its permanent collection and students visit regularly as part of their course work to view and review current exhibitions. In 2008 the CCA curated an exhibition of works by Cecil Skotnes and items from the Cecil and Thelma Skotnes archive at the SANG entitled Cecil Skotnes: a private view.

The CCA has a longstanding relationship of conservation and exhibition with the South African Museum, having digitised and conserved drawings and photographs in their collections relating to the Bleek and Lloyd archive. In 2007, the CCA also undertook the conservation and digitisation of 19th century geologist George Stow’s rock art copies in the SAM’s collection.

The UCT Computer Science department, and Associate Professor Hussein Suleman in particular, have proven invaluable in translating the digital information of our collections into searchable online collections. He first came to our aid for the publication of the digital Bleek and Lloyd on DVD, with Pippa Skotnes’ Claim to the country (2007). 

The largest part of the Bleek and Lloyd archive of |xam material is held in the Manuscripts and Archives section of UCT Libraries. Pippa Skotnes raised funds for the conservation and digitisation of the notebooks and correspondence in the Bleek Lloyd archive, an undertaking which originally took six years to complete and resulted in the publication of Claim to the country in 2007.

The Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative was established to grapple with critical questions about history, memory, identity and the public sphere in South Africa. Funded by the National Research Foundation and based at the University of Cape Town’s Social Anthropology Department, this five-year interdisciplinary research project brings together leading established and emerging scholars/ researchers to explore the workings of the archive in contemporary culture.

The CCA is developing a short and long term plan to create a skills-base and upgrade skills in the much-needed area of conservation, especially as it relates to paper. There are several initiatives planned, both as structured parts of the curriculum at Michaelis and UCT, and as short courses and workshops.

Staff members of the CCA and ARC participated in a workshop on curatorship and photography led by William Ewing, retired director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland (and an International Editor at Thames & Hudson) and Pascal Hufschmid, manager of travelling exhibitions at the Musée de l’Elysée. Both were in Cape Town for the reGenerations 2 exhibition, which was on show in the Michaelis Galleries.

The Calligraphy Workshops consisted of a series of 8 hands-on workshops in which master calligrapher Belaid Hamidi wintroduced the main principles of the different eastern and western Arabic calligraphic scripts. He instructed participants on how to form the individual letters, the system of linking, and the main aesthetic principles governing these scripts. He illustrated the system of proportions and the principles involved in creating a harmonious composition.

Foam is the place in Amsterdam for photography in all its forms: from documentary to fashion, from contemporary to historic. It is a museum for photography, an addition to the city of Amsterdam: inspiring, accessible, simple, yet critical. Foam collaborates with other organisations and companies, both to realise Foam’s ambitions and because it fits in with Foam’s belief in accessibility.

The University of Michigan and the CCA collaborated to bring Professors Skotnes and Hamilton to Michigan to present papers at a conference on ‘The Safehouse of Language’ as well as to transport and exhibit Prof Skotnes’ exhibition of illuminated bone books, Book of Iterations, in Michigan.

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