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Second Afridig Workshop

17 Dec 2019 - 10:00
Justine Wintjes, Amanda Esterhuysen, Hussein Suleman, Carolyn Hamilton, Anton Coetzee in the stores of the WITS Archaeology Department.


In October 2019 members of the Five Hundred Year Archive team (Carolyn Hamilton, Rifqah Kahn, Grant McNulty and Debra Pryor) travelled to Johannesburg for the second of a series of three Digital Humanities workshops funded by the Mellon Foundation. The workshops, to be held between mid-2019 and mid-2020, are designed to explore the possibility of constituting a supra-institutional information — and technology-sharing consortium between three projects that have a focus on the persistently neglected archive of the long southern African past before European colonialism(Link to article about First Afridig Workshop).  The FHYA team was joined by UCT colleagues, Pippa Skotnes (Center for Curating the Archive) and Hussein Suleman (Computer Science). The second workshop was hosted by the Metse Megologolo project based at Wits, with collaborators from the KwaZulu-Natal Museum,  the University of Botswana and the University of Pretoria.

The workshop culminated in planning towards a proposal for a consortium designed to foster general interest in, and academic research into, the southern African past before colonialism. Centered on a shared digital platform with significant project-based autonomy, the proposal covers four distinct but interlinked components:

  • Multi-media archives of material;
  • Extensive digital libraries with a variety of research resources (theses, papers, out-of-copyright books, historical dictionaries and the like);
  • The development of research tools; and
  •  Multiple online curations designed to foster general interest in the area, including that of educators and learners.

Workshop participants chose to be part of one, or many, working groups that will do the necessary preparatory work for a full proposal. They will present their findings and conclusions at a third workshop in March 2020.