Brittany Birberick

Summer 2015

My research focuses on the artistic communities of Johannesburg in order to understand South Africa’s changing economic and political landscape and the relationship between artistic practices, labor, and national development. The project investigates how the production of cultural, artistic objects in the post-apartheid moment is bound up with questions of the nation’s economic and political past and future. I ask how the labor of contemporary artists, in what is recognized as fine art, craft or “ethnic” art, or simply work, shape personal and national futures in the country, and why these forms of artistic labor have been called upon to represent the vitality of cities and the nation This summer, my pre-dissertation research will focus on three key sites, The Market Photo Workshop, arts and economic development in Jeppestown, and the National Arts Council.