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Mocke Jansen van Veuren

University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Research Project Title: Stirring the Beehive: Animating Critical Community Pedagogies

Project title: Research Project Title: Stirring the Beehive: Animating Critical Community Pedagogies

The research proposed for the OSUN Engaged Research Fund will be aligned to and to a large extent integrated with Mocke's current PhD study (enrolled at the Wits School of the Arts), titled “Hive Mentality: Pedagogy, knowledge and filmmaking as situated, decolonial praxis – a collective intervention in Kliptown”.

The primary research question, in line with the main enquiry of my PhD study, is: Drawing on radical, decolonial conceptions of pedagogy, knowledge production and film theory, what unique, situated, community-based model of collective filmmaking pedagogy and practice may emerge from the work of the digital film and arts initiative the Beehive Project in Kliptown and Eldorado Park? This question will form the bulk of the research – the following questions will be addressed in relation to the findings and developments emerging from there.

Secondly, how may the public university be located and engaged within this project as a partner with a mandate to operate towards a public good – noting the internal contradictions between this mandate and the realities of the academy?

Thirdly, how may this model intervene more broadly in local and international debates and practices around film education and skills, in such a way as to be available and relevant for retooling in varied contexts?

Research Plan:

In order to address the above questions, the research will unfold through a series of collaborative interventions in film and animation education and production in Kliptown and Eldorado Park. These intervention will be clustered around two “flagship” projects of the community organisation partner, The Beehive Culture Worx, namely:

1. Kliptown / Eldorado Park Animation Hub
This project, initiated by The Beehive Culture Worx in collaboration with Animation South Africa, will pilot animation education and production programmes, based at the Don Mattera School in Eldorado Park. The aim will be to introduce local youth to accessible animation techniques and processes, and the development of contextually relevant stories. More advanced learners will be positioned as interns and trainees within a series production (“Spien”, created by a young artist from Eldorado Park), and school-leavers will be equipped with portfolios that will facilitate access into formal study.

2. Van Alles – collective feature film production
Van Alles is a feature film which has received funding for production in 2024, from a script written by Prince Massingham, co-Director of The Beehive Culture Worx. As with previous films produced by the collective, cast and crew will be predominantly drawn from the Kliptown and Eldorado Park communities, and the work will be collectively owned. As most of the participants will be non-professional, a large part of the work will be educational, including workshops on performance as well as technical crafts.

The research aspect of these programmes will:
- Document the experimental process of developing contextually relevant film and animation pedagogies, methodologies and narratives.
- Facilitate critical discourse among all participants, relating the work of the programme to social critique and activism.
- Create a community archive and resource accessible to the community and future participants.
- Bring the work of the collective into the University research space through public presentations and participation in colloquia and other research platforms.
- Consolidate and collectively analyse findings from the above.