Zeitz MOCAA in partnership with the UWC

About the individual or institution nominating:

1) Name and Surname of the individual submitting the nomination:

Tandazani Dhlakama (Zeitz MOCAA) and Rory Bester (UWC)

1.2) Institution submitting the nomination:

Zeitz MOCAA and UWC

About the practice, project or institution nominated:

2) Name of the institution nominated:

Zeitz MOCAA (in partnership with UWC)

2.2) Name of the institution, practice or project nominated:

Zeitz MOCAA and UWC Museum Fellowship Programme

3) Argue in one sentence why you think the project you nominate is outstanding and could serve as an example for the entire community of modern and contemporary art museums.

This is a museum fellowship programme that brings together two dynamic African institutions in a unique and innovative partnership to reimagining the landscape of professional museum practice on the African continent.

3) Description of the practice or project. (max. 500 words)

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) & University of the Western Cape Museum (UWC) Fellowship Programme is a unique and innovative partnership between two Africa focusing institutions committed to reimagining the landscape of professional museum practice on the continent. Started in 2022, the one-year fellowship brings together the attentiveness of a supervised museum fellowship at Zeitz MOCAA with the rigour of a postgraduate university degree in historical studies at UWC to create a programme of immersive practice and embodied theory. Located within the broader field of museum studies and underpinned by an understanding of curating as an expanded practice, the programme is interested in expanding new languages and practices that begin to differently equalise exhibition making, management and education. At the forefront of new forms of knowledge making in museums, the consciously multimodal programme acknowledges wide ranging modes of thinking, teaching, learning and assessment.

The fellowship brings together unique touch points in forms of thinking, understanding, and making around research, collections, exhibitions, publics, and education. Fellows are part of an academic cohort at UWC, completing selected courses in curatorship, historiography, public history, visual history, and activist archives. With a focus on upcoming and currently installed exhibitions at Zeitz MOCAA, the fellows’ research is always a unique opportunity to fold academic theory back into the museum’s own exhibition practice, and to present this research at a fellow-organised event at the end of the fellowship. Fellows are also part of a professional museum cohort, entering and actively participating in the day-to-day work of Zeitz MOCCA’s different departmental foci on curatorial, collections management, exhibition management, institutional advancement, and education. This work is supported by regular mentoring activities that not only reach fellows outward into the wider international museum ecosystem, but also over and back into the academic work at UWC, creating rich layers of public exchange within wider museum and curatorial ecologies.

The programme is uniquely attuned to the often more circuitous routes into museum work when living in Africa, where direct and easy access into an art ecology is not as easily available and accessible. As a result, the programme has taken in fellows from a wide range of fields, including anthropology, art, architecture, computer science, economics, film, history, and law. Including the recently awarded 2024 fellowships, the programme has attracted fellows from Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Initially five fellows in each of the first two years, the cohort increases to seven in 2024 and ten in 2025. The fellowship is not only about the year spent in Cape Town, but also about a growing alumni network that the museum facilitates and enables through different activities. With the backing of multi-year funding from the Mellon Foundation, and the prospect of more than 50 alumni from geographically diverse backgrounds in 2028, the programme has the potential to dramatically transform the sustainability of museum and exhibition making landscape in Africa.

4) Images:

Image 1.jpg
Zeitz MOCAA director, Koyo Kouoh, in one of the regular mentoring session with two fellows from the 2022 cohort. These mentoring sessions are one of a multitude of enriching activities that happen around the fellowship at both the museum and the universit

Image 2.jpeg
2023 fellows mind mapping the metaphor of curatorial practice as a ship in the ocean. The curatorship course focuses on embodied learning, with students making extensive use of the built environment around both the museum and the university to activate a

Image 3.jpeg
Using the theory and practice of the curatorship course, 2023 fellows working on a curatorial framework for an exhibition showcasing the museum's collection, due to open in December 2023

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2023 fellows working on an exhibition on the museum's collection, opening in December 2023

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2022 fellows presenting their university research at the end of their fellowship period. Fellows are encouraged to choose one of a number of public forums to showcase their research.

5) Provide links to the institution website as relevant support material:

Museum Fellowship Programme: https://zeitzmocaa.museum/exhibition/fellowship/zeitz-mocaa-university-of-the-western-cape-uwc-museum-fellowship-programme/

Promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b118GNn0g8