Straddling the academic world of urban studies and creative practice, I am fascinated by the intersection of art, culture and heritage in urban life, and in particular the role these can play in realising more just and resilient cities. Based on several years of experience as a public arts practitioner in Durban, my doctoral research focused on exploring the idea of an affective urbanism by looking at the role public-facing art can play in producing knowledge about, and action in, cities. A large part of my research focus has meant unpacking the notions of public space and public life in cities, particularly in the global South. I am also interested in re-thinking how culture-led development and cultural policy are thought of in African cities.
I came to Urban Studies (PhD) via Historical Studies, Political Science (BSocSci), Sociology and Global Studies (BAHons) and Fine Art (MA). I have been based at the African Centre for Cities since 2011 where I have coordinated a wide range of inter-disciplinary and collaborative research projects including Public Art and the Power of Place, Serious Fun, Cultural Heritage and Just Cities, Knowledge Transfer Programme, Realising Just Cities, and Whose Heritage Matters. Throughout my academic and creative careers, I have been intrigued by the relationship between the pragmatism of urban justice, and the poetics of the arts and humanities, and how the two enrich each other. This Centre for Humanities Research fellowship offered me an opportunity to deepen this fascination and draw together networks of scholars at the ACC and the CHR together in a collective scholarly pursuit of the role of the humanities in just urban futures.
- Sitas, R (2020). ‘Cultural policy and just cities in Africa’ in CITY: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action. https://doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2020.1782090 .
- Sitas, R (2020). ‘Creative cities, graffiti and culture-led development in South Africa: Dlala Ndima (play your part)’ in IJURR https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.12894.
- Perry, B, Auger, L and Sitas, R (2019). ‘Festivals as Integrative Sites: Valuing Tangible and Intangible Heritage for Sustainable Urban Development’ in International Journal of Heritage Studies https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2019.1578987.
- Sitas, R & Pieterse, E (2013). ‘Democratic Renovations and Affective Political Imaginaries’ in Third Text. 27.3 https://doi.org/10.1080/09528822.2013.798183.
- Sitas, R (2020). ‘Publics, pavements and public-facing art’ in Routledge Companion to Public Space. London: Routledge.
- Sitas, R (2017). ‘Public-facing art and African Cityness’ in Public Art in Africa: Art and Urban Transformations in Douala. Geneva: MetisPresses.
- Sitas, R (2017). ‘Cultural Policy and the Power of Place, South Africa’ in The Routledge Handbook for Global Cultural Policy. London: Routledge.