co-convener of International Partnerships
Dr Michelle Smith is the Convener of National and International Partnerships at the Centre for Humanities Research (CHR) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), a role she began in late 2015. Michelle works closely with the CHR’s institutional partners in a range of collaborative projects—among her responsibilities is the organization of the annual Winter School in the Humanities, hosted by the CHR at UWC, with the SARChI Chair in Social Change at the University of Fort Hare, the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota, and the Jackman Humanities Institute. Michelle graduated with a PhD in History from the University of Fort Hare in 2020. Her dissertation, titled “Ruin, Remains, Frame: Visual images of community, culture and race in three Eastern Cape Museums in South Africa”, explores the relation between public history and visuality within three museums in the Eastern Cape: the South End Museum, the East London Museum, and the Red Location Museum. Bringing together museum studies and visual studies, the dissertation places three related concepts at the conjuncture of these two fields: ruin, remains, and frame. These three concepts offer lenses through which to attend to the ways these museums have produced particular visualizations of ‘community’, ‘culture’ and ‘race’, each of them recalling apartheid through their visual representation of it, constituting what the dissertation calls a “mortificationary complex.” Michelle has published articles in Kronos: Journal of South African History, and Parallax, and is currently working on publications that bring visual and public history into an encounter over the imaging of the apartheid past.