Brittany Birberick - Rocca Dissertation Research - AY 2016/2017

Fellowship Period: 
Academic Year
Fellowship Year: 
Project/Theme Title: 
Photography and urban transformation in Johannesburg, South Africa
The research examines urban transformation as captured by photography in Jeppestown, a deindustrializing suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. It interrogates the ways in which forms of life, work, and the built environment change, asking: in a space between violence and limited work opportunities and the growing impact of gentrification, how are individuals making sense of transformation? Following that question, how does the photographic image and the practice of photography allow for reinterpretations of experiences by resisting popular narratives of violence and gentrification in Jeppestown and other urban sites of redevelopment? My work examines the liminality of Jeppestown in order to explore the emergence of multiple attempts to remake, reimagine, or reinterpret the area. Through collaborative research with a local art photographer, Sizakele Angel Khumalo, my project will utilize photography to investigate the assemblage offactory spaces, factory owners and workers, and local residents in a moment of transformation.
Award Duration: 
AY 2016/2017