School of Arts Postgraduate Research Conference
The School of Arts recently hosted its third Annual Postgraduate Research Conference held over two days on both the Pietermaritzburg and Durban campuses.
The Conference offered postgraduate students the opportunity to present their research in an academic setting allowing them to receive constructive criticism, suggestions and feedback from peers and lecturers
Academic Leader for Research within the School, Professor Bernard De Meyer, described the Conference as a useful exercise to share research. ‘The aim of this Conference is to provide a forum for students to discuss their topics, to allow them to see what other students are working on and to contribute to knowledge production.’
Acting Dean of Research for the College of Humanities, Professor Donal McCracken, said he was proud of the students and the Humanities, adding that the College was ‘indeed an intellectual place and the soul of the University’.
Addressing students, McCracken said: ‘Look to getting your work published as you are the next generation of researchers and the intellectual leaders of tomorrow.’
In his research, PhD student in African Languages, Mr Hloniphani Ndebele, examined the functions of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in evaluating and intellectualising African Languages within the Higher Education context.
‘The utilisation of Africa’s indigenous linguistic heritage within the ICT domain cannot be ignored considering the spread and impact of ICT,’ said Ndebele. ‘The development of a national corpus for the different indigenous languages, the localisation of software and computer applications, the employment of ICT as a teaching and learning tool for African Languages and the availability of these languages on the internet, are all significant initiatives that can be adopted in the promotion and intellectualising of these languages.’
Lecturer at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) Faculty of Arts, Mrs Deseni Soobben, who presented her research on: “The Construction of Representations of Women of Indian Descent in the Sunday Times Extra”, pointed out that attending the Conference gave her a sense of collegiality.
‘Being a researcher is a lonely endeavour but by attending this Conference it offered me the opportunity to engage with other researchers and to share and discuss my topic with them. And a lot of interest was shown about my topic and that gave me a renewed sense of energy to go forth further with my research. It was also great to get critical feedback from my peers.’