Research Niche:  Visual Narratives and Creative Outputs through Interdisciplinary and Practice-Led Research (VINCO)


The research niche area for the visual arts came into being officially in January 2014 to fill the gap in terms of the need to investigate the unique research and creative outputs within the subject groups art history, graphic design and creative writing.  The members of the research niche work towards expanding a research culture within the relevant subject groups, to improve the post-graduate qualifications of our staff, to publish more articles in accredited journals, to co-operate and collaborate in creative outputs acknowledged as legitimate research, to supervise postgraduate students in the subject groups art history and graphic design as efficiently as possible within the framework of the NWU, and to promote national and international co-operation and collaboration with other tertiary institutions. Our work is mainly built around art related projects, each spanning three years. Three projects have been completed thus far and we are currently working on the fourth project titled Disappearance. Out of these projects, several articles were published in special editions of the accredited journals Literator (2009 and 2012) and the South African Journal of Art History (2014).


There are three sub-programmes within the research niche:

  1. practice-led research and creative processes - triannual projects under the guidance of the specific project's managers (the current project leaders are Jo-Ann Chan and Francois Pretorius)
  2. reading and interpretation of visual narratives, creative outputs and cultural artefacts in the South African context under the guidance of Prof Rita Swanepoel (convenor) and art history personnel
  3. a reflection on theory and methodology in art history and graphic design, under the guidance of Prof Rita Swanepoel [convenor] in co-ordination with the subject chairpersons of art history and graphic design


The research niche's larger focus is aimed at:

  • the sustainability of research projects, the development of creative outputs, and the writing and publishing of articles in accredited journals
  • to deliver research on visual narratives and creative outputs through interdisciplinary and practice-led research from within the disciplines of art history, graphic design and creative writing
  • to contribute substantially to the NWU's processes to recognize creative output as official research outputs
  • to establish a sustainable research culture within these three subject groups
  • the outputs of postgraduate degrees and the improvement of staff and students