Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

Academics should strive to work with students towards publishing, says NRF-rated researcher
2017-07-17

Description: Dr Rodwell Makombe Tags: National Research Foundation University of the Free State Qwaqwa Campus Department of English  

Dr Rodwell Makombe, Y-gegradeerde navorser.
Foto: Thabo Kessah


“The National Research Foundation (NRF) is a prestigious research institution and to be recognised by such an institution means that my work is worthwhile. This alone motivates me to do more research.” This is how Dr Rodwell Makombe reflected on his recent recognition as an NRF-rated researcher – one of the few on the Qwaqwa Campus. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus.

“This recognition is indeed an important milestone in my research career. It means that my efforts as a researcher are recognised and appreciated. The financial research incentive will enable me to engage in more research, attend conferences, and so forth,” he said.

Comparing research in the Humanities and Sciences

Dr Makombe’s research area is broadly postcolonial African literature, but he is particularly interested in postcolonial literatures and resistance cultures. He is currently working on a book project entitled Visual Cultures of the Afromontane.

When asked what he thought about Natural Sciences being in the lead as far as research is concerned, he said that this is mainly caused by funding opportunities.

“It means that my efforts as a
researcher are recognised and
appreciated.”

“It is easier to access funding for research in the Natural Sciences than for the Humanities. Researchers in the Humanities usually do research without any form of funding. However, there are also differences in the way research is done in the Sciences than in the Humanities. Science researchers tend to work together on different projects, which make it easier for them to have their names on publications, no matter how small their contribution. This is also connected to the issue of funding,” he added. 

He continued: “Since research in the Humanities is largely unfunded, it is difficult for researchers to establish research groups. Another issue is that most academics in the Humanities do not necessarily teach modules within their research interests. Therefore, they tend to be overloaded with work as they have to do research in one area and teach in another area.”

NRF-rating and funding

For Dr Makombe, the solution to this challenge lies in academics in the Humanities working towards publishing with their students. “This way,” he said, “both the students and the academics will get publications that will help them to get NRF-rating and other forms of research funding. Modules in the Humanities need to be aligned to academics’ research interests to avoid mismatches between teaching and research.” 

He previously worked at the University of Fort Hare and the Durban University of Technology and has published several articles in both local and international journals.

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