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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Award-winning architect firm presents the 29th Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture and Exhibition
2017-09-07

  Description: Arch break Tags: Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture and Exhibition, Elphick Proome Architects, South African Institute of Architects

At the Sophia Gray Bursary Fund breakfast, were from the left:
Henry Pretorius, head of the UFS Department of Architecture,
AJ Corbett, and Boipelo Morule, third-year student
in Architecture and Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector
and Vice-Chancellor, 
at the UFS
Photo: Stephen Collett

The laureates of this year’s Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture were George Elphick and Nicholas Proome from the award-winning architecture firm, Elphick Proome Architects (EPA). Over the past 28 years this Durban firm has received 26 awards and its work has been published in 26 magazines.  

From bedroom to boardroom
EPA is involved in major corporate architecture as well as several residential projects. It believes that good design is produced from careful study and research combined with sound technical knowledge and artistic judgement. At the 29th Sophia Gray lecture, presented by the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State, EPA addressed the Bloemfontein community, stating that architecture was about people, space and light. 

For EPA, architecture is the form of art with the most impact on society. “Ultimately, our architecture needs to be enjoyed and be hard to forget,” it said. 

In its three decades of practice, most of EPA’s built work has been executed in South Africa. It has also completed projects beyond South African borders, including Mozambique, Kenya, Ghana, and France. 

The lecture was followed by the opening of the 29th Sophia Gray Memorial Exhibition at Oliewenhuis Art Museum.

New PhD in Architecture with Design announced
A highlight at this year’s lecture was the announcement by Henry Pretorius, the head of the department, of a new and innovative doctoral programme, the PhD in Architecture with Design. From 2018, students with a MArch (professional) or MArch can enrol for this postgraduate qualification.

“The programme recognises the intelligence and ingenuity of design. Its primary objective is to harvest and study the implicit orientations, operations, and achievements of design, and to enlist creativity in the formation of new knowledge. The degree facilitates analytical reflection, stimulates creative action, and opens new insights into the unique logic of design,” said Pretorius.

“Although design-based research has gained international momentum in recent years, similar research has not been done in South Africa until now.”

Contribution to the Sophia Gray Bursary Fund 
During a breakfast function, the department also announced another initiative, the Sophia Gray Bursary Fund. Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor at the UFS, said that the type of architecture in developing countries was different from places such as New York and other big cities in developed countries. For a transformed profession we need architects from different cultures and demographics in the system. The bursary fund was a fantastic starting point for this to happen. 

The Sophia Gray Bursary Fund initiative is part of a greater call to alumni and friends of the department to be actively involved in the department’s continuous development and future endeavours towards imagination, care, and excellence.
AJ Corbett, founder and director of TCN Architects in East London, made the first contribution towards the fund. 

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