By Asia Education Review Team , Thursday, 27 June 2024

Nelson Mandela Univ. PhD Student Unveils Chinese Heritage Conservation Study

  • Doctoral candidate Kawthar Jeewa from the Faculty of Architecture was invited to present her research at an international conference in China. She was also selected from hundreds of applicants to participate in a two-day workshop for early-career scholars. The conference, titled “Towards Sustainable Rural-Urban Development of Human Settlement - The Asian-African Collaborative Network,” was organized by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai. It was followed by an urban methodology workshop.

    During the two-day main program, senior and junior scholars from various regions, including North, South, East, and West Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Europe, gathered. They explored the complex processes and numerous challenges of urbanization in Asia and Africa. Through this 'comparative gesture' or 'mutual referencing and dialogue,' the conference laid the groundwork for the "Asia-Africa Collaborative Network".

    Kawthar was the opening presenter of Panel 5, which discussed “Inclusive Urban Redevelopment and Heritage Governance”. She demonstrated her architectural research work in Mauritius along with community engagement and spoke on issues relating to gentrification and the lack of interdisciplinary practice between architecture, Heritage conservation, and community representatives.

    The two-day early-career scholars’ workshop, entitled “Doing Mobile Ethnography: Learning from the Other ‘Other’,” gathered the selected young scholars through an international open call. Kawthar was awarded a fully funded scholarship to attend the workshop. The selected participants were doctoral candidates and post-doctoral fellows from Brazil, Botswana, China, India, Macau, Mauritius, Tunisia, Turkey, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

    The participants reflected on the methodological issues and research challenges associated with conducting fieldwork in the Global South. They engaged in collaborative discussions about their proposed papers with workshop mentors Prof. Bjørn Enge Bertelsen (Norway), Prof. Lorraine Kennedy (France), Prof. Oussouby Sacko (Japan), and Prof. Tatiana Thieme (UK).

    The round table discussions involved sharing experiences of fieldwork in the Global South, highlighting a series of misadventures, self-sabotages, and the new ethics of dealing with post-colonial histories and marginalized communities. Empathy, self-reflection, and the rightful representation of voices were essential values shared among the group. Kawthar expressed her deep gratitude to the “Youth on the Move” organizers, Dr. Min Tang, Anuj Daga, and Dr. Ying Cheng, as well as to the Urban Foundation Studies for the funding that made this opportunity possible and to the CAUP at Tongji University for their warm welcome in Shanghai.