Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


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. 

 

 

 

 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept