NRF Postdoctoral Fellow in Innovation at the APC (2017-2019). The project consisted both of creative outputs and research-based outputs aimed at bringing the archive to life, in socially-engaged formats - bringing archival insights to the public, and bringing public responses to the archive. The project emphasized two theoretical nodes:
Theorizing Sound: which is about looking at sound in its various paradigms, including music, noise, silence, etc. as a discourse through which knowledge is produced, and orientations to listening, hearing, etc. are shaped.
Technology Study: Technology studies turns its attention towards narratives of invention, to show that they are rooted in a particular time and affected by certain power relations. It emphasizes the historical evolution of scientific fact and can open up human-conscious approaches to the future. In the precolonial past, technologies such as iron were treated with a mythological and ritual seriousnesss,which also made them realizable in those contexts. A study of African historical metallurgical cultures can offer insights into the ideas which the people themselves valued in those moments, as well as how they intersected with other ideas around fertility, warfare, poetic and storytelling forms, to mention a few.
In terms of more recent archives, the project looked at the early broadcasting archive in South Africa. Mhlambi spent part of his time publishing articles and book chapters on aspects of radio broadcasting history in South Africa. He attended international sound studies and cultural studies conferences in Brazil and in the USA.
While the NRF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Innovation project has ended, the work undertaken by Mhlambi with the APC is ongoing.