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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

Prof. Van Coller elected as member of ASSAF
2010-11-08

Prof. Hennie van Coller

After he had been nominated by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof. Hennie van Coller, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF).

ASSAF consists of approximately 340 members and Prof. Van Coller is proud to be the only Afrikaans literator amongst the members. Apart from Prof. Dingie Janse van Rensburg, who retired earlier this year, Prof. Van Coller is also the only staff member of the UFS’s Faculty of the Humanities who is a member of ASSAF.

Prof. Van Coller is a former Chairperson of the South African Academy for Science and Art and states that his membership of ASSAF proves that a good relationship and collaboration exist amongst the academies for the benefit of science.

The academy’s core function requires that the country’s most outstanding academics be honoured as members. With that in mind, Prof. Van Coller’s research and contribution to Afrikaans literature were not in vain. “Recognition cannot be bought, and therefore recognition by one’s peers in particular is very precious,” said Prof. Van Coller.
– Lize du Plessis

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