The Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative was established in 2009 to grapple with critical questions about history, memory, identity and the public sphere in South Africa. Funded by the National Research Foundation and based at the University of Cape Town’s History Department, this inter-disciplinary research project explores the workings of the archive in contemporary culture.

Researchers engage with theoretical ideas about archive and public culture, while giving close attention to the record. The project brings together scholars from across the humanities and social sciences, while also supporting research on archive in the fields of science, law and medicine.

National Research Foundation (NRF) Chairs are charged with nurturing a new generation of high-performing researchers and academics. In an effort to vivify this vision of human capital development, the Initiative is structured around intensive post-graduate engagement, mentoring and support for junior academic staff, underpinned by sustained pedagogical reflection and experimentation. As part of UCT’s drive to enhance the quality of post-graduate training, it assembles emerging researchers and students alongside well-established thinkers, providing a supportive space for the testing of ideas.

The development of an active inter-disciplinary research group comprising senior established scholars, new academics, post-doctoral fellows, doctoral, masters and honours students, as well as research-active professionals in cognate institutions and practitioners in public life, underpins a collaborative approach to developing an active teaching and learning environment within a research context.

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