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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Art and science help us understand the world and our place in it
2017-10-28



Description: Art and science  Tags: Art and science

At the event were, from the left: Tristan Nel, first-year Fine Arts student;
Dr Janine Allen-Spies from the Department of Fine Arts;
Prof Carlien Pohl-Albertyn from the Department of Microbiology,
Biochemical and Food Biotechnology; and Pheny Mokawane, a
Microbiology, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology student.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Although BioArt dates back as far as the 15th and 16th centuries with the work of Leonardo da Vinci, it is not every day that art and science combine. This rare phenomenon made its appearance when two totally different groups of students – studying arts and microbiology respectively – joined hands in an initiative to create BioArt.

This first-time undergraduate teaching collaboration between the Departments of Fine Arts and Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State (UFS), which is characterised by the use of living materials, such as enzymes, microbes and DNA, as well as scientific tools and methods, is exploring a number of questions. 

Different outcomes for arts and microbiology students

According to Prof Carlien Pohl-Albertyn from the Department of Microbiology, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, one of the central questions explored in BioArt is the nature of ‘life’. “At which stage can matter be classified as being alive or living?” she asked. 

“We realised that the outcomes for the two groups of students would not be the same. For the microbiology students, the focus would be on the understanding and effective communication of a microbiological concept. For the art students the focus would be on the execution of the assignment using visual elements and applied theory of art,” said Prof Pohl-Albertyn.

Dr Janine Allen-Spies from the Department of Fine Arts added: “Art students will also be exploring strangely or previously unforeseen gaps between art and science that can be filled with imaginative interpretations which may forward creative insights in both BioArt as a developing art form and microbiology as investigative science.”

Students’ understanding of microbial evolution reflected in art
The art students had to visit the microbiology labs for their assignment as this is mostly a foreign environment for these students. “The paint medium they had to use was gouache. This medium with its bright colours works well to depict microscopic organisms in art,” Dr Allen-Spies said. 

On display at the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology on the Bloemfontein Campus, at a recent event to introduce this new initiative to a wider audience, was a range of visually and scientifically compelling paintings and artefacts (such as paintings, poems, songs, apps) which explore a theme within microbiology from a BioArt perspective that uses creativity to communicate concepts dealt with in the module Microbial Evolution and Diversity.

Any parties who are interested in buying the art can contact Dr Allen-Spies at allenj@ufs.ac.za.

Paintings and artefacts reflects students understanding of BioArt. At the recent opening of the BioArt exhibition at the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, was the work of Madeleen Jansen van Rensburg on display.

Pheny Mokawane, a Microbiology, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology student, wrote a poem for his BioArt project in the Microbial Evolution and Diversity assignment. 

 

 

 

 

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