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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

Dare we hope?
2014-07-01

 
Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela has done it again. She has succeeded in writing yet another book that critics herald as “lucid and compelling”, “of striking moral intelligence” and “as fresh as ever.” Her book, Dare we Hope? Facing our Past to find a New Future, rekindles our hope as South Africans and will be released on 7 July 2014.

In this book, Prof Gobodo-Madikizela explores what she calls the “unfinished business,” Afrikaner rage, why apologies are not enough, and the crisis of moral leadership in politics. Yet, in the face of all this, she shows the way to healing a wounded South African nation.

Prof Gobodo-Madikizela is a Senior Research Professor in Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies at the UFS. Her research has made huge inroads into the reparative elements of victims-perpetrator dialogue in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence. She has served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and spent an extended period at Harvard University.

Her latest book follows on her hugely-successful title, A Human Being Died that Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness. For that book, she won the Alan Paton Award in South Africa, and the prestigious Christopher Award in the United States.


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