UJ Alumni Impumelelo Magazine Edition 8


Stéphane Laurent - Executive Dean, FADA

Fabrication In Europe and other countries, young people show a new interest in fabrication, in making things with their hands, he says, and there is a significant opportunity to make this happen in South Africa. “One of my most important projects is to create a laboratory where students can fabricate things; where they can get more acquainted with fabrication. For instance, art students work with computer screens to design and conceive things. Sometimes they will create by hand, in the old, traditional way, but they don’t know much about how windows or a piece of furniture are made. “We already have the FabLab, a large room with machines and tools, a ceramic studio with kilns, and sculpture or paper making apparatus for the visual arts department. This equipment, often only departmentally used, presents us with a formidable chance to teach and have students combine their projects,” says Laurent. Research output Previously, research was only about publications. Lately, research contributions of a practical or technical nature, such as design, artwork and architectural works, are also recognised as research output. “This means that designers, architects and artists can use their exhibitions or creations to get research funding – a significant development that

design and decorative arts history through complete surveys and critical academic works. He applied for his new position while visiting relatives in South Africa. “I came as a tourist and found a new job. I found myself in a new and culturally different environment that is also quite modern. I had never been to South Africa before and, due to travel complexities during the COVID-19 pandemic, I never had a chance to visit UJ before my appointment. It is an interesting new challenge, and I believe my values and knowledge will be helpful in my new working environment.” Laurent was aware that UJ had specific objectives he would have to make his own and implement at FADA. In addition, he had ideas

Prof Stéphane Laurent, newly appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA), is keen and ready to coordinate and dovetail the Faculty’s activities and excited about the possibilities. FADA encompasses a myriad of the creative disciplines he had encountered in the course of his academic career. Against that background, he talks enthusiastically about fabrication, a new approach to research output, internationalisation through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, transformation in senior academic ranks, his commitment to fundraising, and how he wants to keep the Faculty’s alumni close. Laurent, a Frenchman who describes himself as “basically an

based on his broad experience, which he felt he could bring to the Faculty as they were compatible with the UJ strategy. “I hope to see more collaboration between the various departments. The positive energy I experience on campus, and the energetic people I have met will make this possible. Of course, people are already working together, but there is room for more,” he says.

art historian and painter but with an overall education in art, design and architecture” was a professor and director of research at the Pantheon Sorbonne University in Paris before joining the University of Johannesburg. In France, where he was the first scholar appointed to a design history position, he pioneered academic studies and teaching in the field. His publications cover



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