Yeoville Studio is committed to publicize its findings and engage debate around them, both in the academic world and in broader society – including, of course, in and with Yeoville. Its principle is therefore to participate in, and/or to organize, public events in Yeoville and at Wits in a balanced way, so as to accommodate a diverse and mixed audience.
The first was a participation in Yeoville Africa Day, 29 May 2010. Yeoville Studio used Yeoville Library courtyard as an exhibition space, to display first research results (such as housing stories posters), organize interactive animations (Yeoville Stories Map, Imagine Rockey-Raleigh street in 2030, Vote for the best Yeoville Postcard), launch community outputs (such as the Yeoville African restaurants guide). The exhibition attracted a lot of residents, including the youth, in a festive atmosphere.
In 2011, Yeoville Studio organized three exhibitions, and was showcased in series of seminar & three conferences.
Three Yeoville sub-projects involving photography were presented and exhibited during the conference Wide Angle: Photography as Public Practice organized by the Market Photoworkshop and the Goethe Institut in South Africa in Wits University, 23-26 March 2011. The three sub-projects were Sophie Didier and Naomi Roux’ Photomaps, Claire Benit-Gbaffou and Sally Gaule’s Muller Street Photographic Portrait , and Potsiso Phasha’s Youth Stories .
Reflections on Yeoville Studio as a form of community engagement were presented by Claire Benit-Gbaffou in a Wits seminar on “Strengthening Community Development through Collaboration”, at Wits University, 12 August 2011. Further reflections on the same themes were developed in the South African City Studies Conference, University of Cape Town 7-9 September 2011, under the title ‘The politics of community engagement – the case of Yeoville Studio’. Other papers linked to the Studio were presented, such as ‘Spaces for political contestations and coalitions: Reconsidering community governance in urban South Africa: the case of Yeoville’ (by Obvious Katsaura); and ‘In quest of spaces of participation in a diverse community – the case of Yeoville’ **Attach (by Eulenda Mkwanazi).
A series of seminars presenting different aspects of Yeoville Studio was organized during the 2011 second semester School Talks at Wits School of Architecture and Planning.
Three inner city Housing roundtables were organized at Wits, in an attempt to discuss findings from housing in Yeoville in a broader inner city context, in a mixed audience of academics, professionals and city officials. The roundtables attracted an audience of 30 to 50 participants.
Yeoville Studio participated in the organisation of the conference ‘Memory and the City’, organized in Johannesburg by IFAS-Wits-University of Johannesburg, 14-16 September 2011. An exhibition of Yeoville Studio latest outputs was organized to launch the conference at Wits; local guides using Yeoville Studio thematic maps took conference participants into a successful set of tours of Yeoville.
- A final Yeoville Studio exhibition was organized in Yeoville Recreation Center, 26 Nov-2 Dec 2011. Its focus was on trading, with innovative and designed trading stalls, interactive scale models of Rockey Raleigh street, spaza and market traders’ stories. Other items explored Yeoville communities, past present and future – presented through a series of portraits (of local activists, of special places and buildings, of former residents remembering the place and of current ones falling in love in Yeoville). The launch was fortunate to have City Manager Trevor Fowler, Wits deputy Vice Chancellor Yunus Ballim, Wits Dean of Humanities Tawana Kupe and Gauteng Planning Commission Chair Rashid Seedat as guest speakers .
In 2012, Yeoville Studio has so far organized one exhibition. Similar to the one presented in Yeoville at the end of 2011, the Wits final Yeoville Studio exhibition was presented at Wits University, 29 February 2012, to expose the Studio to the fresh intake of students and a broader Wits Community. It attracted the attention of many Witsies, including French-Ivorian and Wits based novelist Veronique Tadjo who was so inspired that she decided to locate her next novel in Yeoville.
To conclude on the series of inner city housing roundtables, Sarah Charlton presented a paper entitled “Housing in Yeoville-Bellevue: learning from low-income living in an inner city suburb” (**attach) in the Faces of the City Seminar series at Wits School of Architecture and Planning, 28 February 2012.
Public events planned for the rest of the year: Launch of the Housing Booklets in a Yeoville workshop, mid 2012; launch of the two Yeoville Books (in Yeoville and at Wits), possibly at the end of the year.