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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Cohesions and Disruptions Forum
2014-07-15

 
The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS and the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, in partnership with the Vryfees, co-presented an artist and academic forum on 18 July 2014.

The forum, ‘Cohesions and Disruptions: Art as a Key to Transformation’, was aptly timed to coincide with Mandela Day. This event formed part of the transformation strategy of the Vryfees arts festival, aiming to support more diversity and cross-cultural, contemporary art programmes.

“Cohesions and Disruptions is part of the new Program for Innovation in Artform Development (PIKO/PIAD),” said Adri Herbert, Director of the Vryfees. “This includes both the cross-cultural OPENLab 2014, a new Australian/South African laboratory for early and mid-career South African artists, and a partnership with the Australian based SituateArt in Festivals initiative, managed by Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart, Tasmania.”

The forum’s keynote speaker was Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin. She is a Narungga, Wirangu, Wotjobaluk woman from South Australia and Victoria respectively. She is well known throughout the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands and broader arts communities. Buckskin’s presentation was titled ‘Building Young Indigenous People’s Lives through Art and Culture in Remote Central Australia.’

Buckskin spoke broadly about her involvement with youngsters – often poverty stricken and sniffing petrol – in remote areas of Australia. She explained how the arts have given the youth a chance at rehabilitation and hope for the future.

After her presentation, she was joined by Dr Willy Nel, lecturer at the UFS School of Education Studies. Dr Nel completed his PhD among the Khomani San in the Kalahari. 

Other forum speakers who presented their work included:
Dr Mari Velonaki, Director of the Centre for Social Robotics at the National Institute for Experimental Art at the University of New South Wales, Sydney;
Dr Nigel Helyer of Sonic Objects; Sonic Architecture, Sydney;
Bec Dean, Curator at Performance Space, Sydney;
Jesse Olivieri, co-founder of Parachutes for Ladies in Sydney; and
Cigdem Aydemir, Vryfees visual artist for 2014.

“Given the histories and present experiences of human rights violations and racial discrimination that indigenous people in Australia and South Africa are subjected to, we are particularly honoured to have Lee-Ann (Buckskin) as a guest speaker,” said Prof Andre Keet, Director of the UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice. 


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