Dr Kurt Campbel

Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town

Dr Kurt Campbell is Associate Professor of Fine Art and Director at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. He is a past Harvard University fellow and visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota, Indiana University and the American University in Cairo. He has developed productive interdisciplinary dialogues as an artist and writer extending his practice into fields as broad as pugilism, textuality and historiography. South Africa’s recent political past and the accompanying legacies often feature in his writing and artwork. Crucially, this focus is not to re-inscribe the ideas of ‘race’ or ‘apartheid’, but rather to assist with a final critique of these boundaries and thus contribute to a potentially richer self-concept for individuals as they move in the intellectual world.

Notable writing projects appear in the following international peer-reviewed journals: “European Journal of English Studies”, Harvard University’s “Transition” and Brill’s “Philological Encounters” .

His published monograph positions the writing of the blinded champion boxer Andrew Jeptha as an important contribution to Postcolonial and Disability Sudies.

Campbell’s artworks combine sculpture and Augmented Reality (AR) to facilitate interactive art experiences. Exhibitions that reflect these creative concerns include Night Fighter (2014) and Boxing Ghosts (2015) at the District Six Museum. These projects were largely concerned with historical interpretation through exhibition making and the productive possibilities that early black pugilists from Cape Town offer in thinking the limits of racial subjectivity and self-craft in contemporary society.

The exhibition “Athlone in Mind” was curated by Campbell in 2017 forming part of the annual meeting of the Consortium for Humanities Centres and Institutes. The accompanying catalogue and digital interface garnered the National Institiute for Social Sciences Best Catlogue Award.

His work at the CHR in 2024 is dedicated to his forthcoming monograph on South African Rock Art epistomology titled “Rock Art After Apartheid: our contemporary participation in the numinous”.

Related News

CHR Fellows and Faculty Win at National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Awards

Heidi Grunebaum, Kurt Campbell, Reza Khota, and Kitso Lelliot won awards in the Book, Creative Collection and Digital Contribution 2019 Awards Ceremony of the NIHSS.