15 September 2019

Opportunity Description


Fine Art Department, Rhodes University
Makhanda, Eastern Cape, South Africa

ARTS OF AFRICA AND GLOBAL SOUTHS comprises the NRF/DST SARChI Chair programme in “Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa” and the “Publishing and Research of the South: Positioning Africa” (PROSPA) research programme funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

NRF SARChI Chair, Professor Ruth Simbao, invites suitable candidates to apply for postgraduate bursaries for PhD, Masters and Honours studies in Art History/Art History and Visual Culture/Visual Studies. Fine Art Practice or Curating are options at a Masters level.

Research themes for the 2020 bursaries:

  • PhD: New ways of framing the ‘Africa-China’ discourse in the visual arts with a particular
    focus on the perspectives of Africa-based artists
  • MA: Future knowledges/future art spaces and the arts of Africa
  • MFA: Practice-led research that is sensitive to current issues in South Africa and/or the
    broader African continent.
  • Honours or Honours equivalent: These bursaries are not themed. Some knowledge about
    the contemporary arts of Africa is preferable.

Bursaries holders need to strictly adhere to the following timeframes of their degrees:

  • PhD in Art History: Thesis only, 3 years to completion
  • MA in Art History: Thesis only, 2 years to completion
  • MFA in Fine Art Practice/Curating: Exhibition and thesis, 2 years to completion
  • Honours in Art History/4th year BFA: Coursework and long essay, 1 year to completion

Note that bursaries are only renewed after year one if candidates meet the requirements and are in good standing.

How to Apply

Please email the following information to Charmaine Mostert (c.mostert@ru.ac.za) by the 15th of September 2019, and label your email “2020 Postgraduate Application”:

  1.  A clear indication of which degree you would like to apply for and the relevant qualifications you have already completed
  2. Recent academic transcripts (shortlisted applicants will be requested to update these at the end of the academic year)
  3. A comprehensive CV
  4. A copy of your identity document or passport
  5. A written statement that outlines your proposed research project, including:
    Context of Research, Goals of Research, Methodology and Bibliography (2 pages for Honours, 4 pages for Masters, 6-8 pages for PhD).
  6. A statement that clearly outlines how your proposed research intersects with research themes of this call the research of the Arts of Africa and Global Souths research team more broadly. See www.ru.ac.za/artsofafrica for more information.
  7. A motivation that responds to the following questions: a) Why do you wish to pursue postgraduate studies? b) What do you perceive as the benefits of working in a research team that emphasises a supportive and collaborative approach? c) What would you be able to offer to this type of research environment? Please be as specific as possible.
  8. A sample of your writing (an article, book chapter, thesis or essay)
  9. A digital portfolio of your artwork if you are applying for an MFA. Please note that this will be assessed with the Fine Art Practice staff in the department.

Successful applicants will be active participants in a supportive research group environment at Rhodes University and will work on topics that resonate with the core research of the team. Please see www.ru.ac.za/artsofafrica for more information on the research team. Bursaries are only available for students who are registered at Rhodes University full time and are based in Makhanda for the full duration of their studies.

Please note that all applicants need to meet the requirements of the Fine Art Department and Rhodes University. Positions in the research team are competitive and limited, and are dependent on the relevance of the proposed research topic to the programme as well as the availability of suitable supervision capacity.