UKZN Student attends Soil Ecology meeting in the USA
PhD candidate in Art History at the Centre for Visual Art (CVA) on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus, Mr Mathodi Motsamayi, attended the 2015 Soil Ecology Society meeting at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs in the United States.
Motsamayi was among international delegates representing diverse areas of academic interest and research at the biennial meeting which addressed contemporary global issues in several fields of soil ecology.
The Soil Ecology Society (SES: USA) is an international organisation of researchers, students, environmental professionals and others interested in the advancement and promotion of soil biology and ecology.
He said the meeting had been a great platform to communicate his research to scholars from natural sciences.
Presented at a conference in Greece in 2014, a paper by Motsamayi examined the interface between art, culture and ecosystem, alerting international soil scientists and USA soil ecologists to the importance of South African natural resources, specifically soil and clay-types used for socio-cultural purposes by vessel-makers in South Africa.
Pottery and other vessels decorated with natural pigments derived from local ferruginous soils and clays in Limpopo province are outstanding examples of the interface of material cultural creativity and natural resources.
Motsamayi’s presentation examined the sustainability of ceramic and other vessel productions in the context of ecological and economic potentialities in vivid fieldwork studies. He gave close attention to physical and visual features of Limpopo indigenous pottery vessels with regard to significant environmental aspects of their social and cultural contexts of production, questioning if domestic pottery productions were sustainable in the face of globalism and dwindling natural resources.
Since 2014, Motsamayi has been serving on the Reviewers’ Board of the Athens Journal of History, published by the History Research Unit of the Athens Institute for Education & Research (ATINER). He has already been involved in the reviewing process of the Athens Journal of History.
Motsamayi, a recipient of the 2015 Parkinson Student Travel Award from the Soil Ecology Society (SES), is currently writing his PhD thesis chapters and continuing to conduct academic research at the Social History Collections – Iziko Museums, in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo province. During 2015, he will be helping to teach at the CVA at UKZN.
He acknowledged the National Research Foundation for financial support and research associates in fieldworks and colleagues at CVA for their academic support.