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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

Department of Architecture recognises excellence
2014-11-20

 

From the left are: Gary Westwood, Marius du Plessis and Henry Pretorius
Photo: Ifa Tshishonge
Front page design by Marius du Plessis

Marius du Plessis received the first prize in the Regional Corobrik Student of the Year Award for his design of a National Geothermal Research and Educational Centre in Johannesburg. The award ceremony was hosted by the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State.

Anja Lareman was awarded the second prize for her Psychiatric Unit for the Deaf in Worcester and Mariska Peel received third prize for her design of a laboratory for the after oil epoch in Durban.

The Corobrik award for Best use of clay masonry brickwork was awarded to Valentino Moutzouris for his design of a Performing Arts Centre in Wynberg, Cape Town.

The event was well attended by architecture students who hoped to take home an award. Projects exhibited, received distinctions in one or all of the three main components, including design, the architectural theoretical treatise and building sciences.

“This is the greatest award that one could win in the Free State. It came with so much blood, sweat and tears, as I had to live, eat and work day and night at the same place in order to finish the project,” said Marius, master’s student in Architecture. He said that he hopes the project can be developed and implemented in mine shafts to solve the energy crisis in South Africa.

Henry Pretorius, Academic Departmental Head of Architecture, said: “It is vital for architecture to have a public interface. This event is to showcase the work of students and to make sure that it is accessible to the public. It encourages students to understand the value of their own work and its cognisance to society.”

Gary Westwood, Sales Manager of Corobrik Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho region, said: “So far it has been an incredible journey. This annual event of 24 years is our way of giving back to the community who supports and sustains our business. It is wonderful to see how the architecture industry has adapted to a more sustainable way of design, by being part of the green movement.”

Marius will compete with other Corobrik winners from various universities on national level in April 2015.

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