Friday, May 10, 2013


weetuzoo's International Correspondant Amanda Carlson has been roaming around Africa, but pops up for another report.

Next blog stop: Cape Town - Translating the Academy
By Amanda Carlson

One of the challenges universities and other academic organizations confront is the process of making their work accessible to individuals beyond the academy.  I was fortunate enough to arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, just in time to see how one research center is bringing together scholarship from around the globe and packaging it in a format accessible to members of the public within, and beyond, Cape Town’s borders.  

On March 27, 2013, the African Centre for Cities (ACC), at the University of Cape Town, celebrated the release of the third issue of its magazine, Cityscapes, at the local bookstore, Book Lounge.  Cityscapes, is described by the ACC as a hybrid current affairs and culture magazine devoted to ‘re-thinking urban things’.”  The release was the opportunity for members of the public to hear directly from the magazine’s editors the goals of this particular issue and the magazine as a whole. 

Sean O’Toole, one Cityscapes co-editor, described the magazine’s purpose as “…an act of translating…trying to broach a public and say that there are different ways of speaking about things”.  Through photo essays, opinion pieces, and full length articles, the magazine’s third issue – devoted to the theme of The Smart City – included examples from cities as far afield as Hong Kong and Lagos, and many places in between.  

The event and subsequent reading of the magazine helped me feel connected to a new network of people thinking about urban experiences.  And, going back to the challenge facing universities, on this night, the ACC succeeded in translating its work to at least one curious member of the public.  

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