UJ Arts & Culture’s #METAMORPHOSIS

#METAMORPHOSIS is UJ Arts & Culture’s 2018 programme of change.

“Looking at our creative programme through this thematic lens is the ideal stimulus for alignment with the University’s drive to participate meaningfully in decolonisation and transformation,” says Pieter Jacobs, Head of Arts & Culture (a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture) at the University of Johannesburg.

Drawing inspiration from the theme of #METAMORPHOSIS has seen UJ Arts & Culture plan to change more than its content. The 2018 programme features two brand new festivals as well as new partnerships that will increase opportunities for the university community, creative industries and the public to experience and participate in the arts. The programme is diverse, ranging from jazz, poetry and youth arts festivals to a music concert series, stand-up comedy shows, drama and dance seasons and an exhibitions programme.

“It is a great responsibility to play a role in shaping leaders of the future. And what better tool than the arts to develop the emotional and cultural intelligence to harness the knowledge and skills we acquire as we go through life,” says Jacobs. To this end, UJ Arts & Culture offers students and staff a robust programme to participate in the arts. Through the UJ Arts Academy, students, alumni and staff have access to a range of free dance and acting classes, poetry and drumming sessions or they could audition for theatre productions, the UJ Choir, UniJoh Chorale, jazz band, wind band or orchestra. Its student offering would not be complete without the hugely popular student talent competition presented annually and group tours to festivals and celebrations.

A key component of UJ Arts & Culture’s activities is its annual interdisciplinary collaborative FADA programme, launched in 2017 by the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Federico Freschi. Once again, this programme will see more than 300 students from departments across the faculty get involved in different design aspects of a UJ Arts & Culture-produced play as part of their course work.

“UJ Arts & Culture’s #METAMORPHOSIS programme is designed to advance the University’s vision of an international institution of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. Bolstered by PhD residencies, local and international performing arts residencies, lectures, workshops and conferences, the Division strives to offer world-class opportunities to experience, participate in, and for empowerment through the arts,” concludes Jacobs.

#METAMORPHOSIS promises to appeal to art lovers with diverse interests:


Exhibitions Programme

For the fourth year in a row, UJ Arts & Culture’s exhibitions programme will feature the PPC Imaginarium Awards.These awards, established by PPC Ltd, offer emerging designers and artists a platform to showcase their talent and creativity through the use of cement as a primary medium.

In May, the 300 Art Ornaments exhibition will showcase over 250 pieces collected by the UJ Jewellery Design and Manufacture Department over the past 10 years.

UJ Art Gallery in partnership with the Bag Factory will play host to Brazillian curator Daniella Géo, who delves into the Bag Factory’s alumni archives. TRANS will showcase the impact Bag Factory’s alumni have had on the art scene and the role it played in connecting the Johannesburg with the rest of Africa and the world.

UJ Arts & Culture, in collaboration with the MTN Foundation SA, presents Continuing Conversations, following the 2017 collaborative Shifting Conversations exhibition. The conversations continue in 2018, with works derived from both the MTN and UJ art collections as well as emerging artists with an addition of a mentorship and educational programme.

The 2018 UJ Arts Gallery calendar is set to close on a high with the celebration of 21 Years of The Ampersand Foundation, which rewards excellence in the visual arts by granting fellowships to young professional South African contemporary visual artists. Curator Gordon Froud brings works completed by such fellows together in this exhibition.


UJ Concert Series

Kicking off the UJ Concert Series is the re-launch of the University’s Steinway Concert Grand with Steinway artists Christopher Duigan, Charl du Plessis and Jill Richards featuring the rising star, Sulayman Human, in concert.

Presented in partnership with Pro Helvetia Johannesburg, Swiss group Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (Hildegard Learns to Fly) is a Swiss formation of avant-garde jazz, headlined by singer Andreas Schaerer. In 2014, the band received the BMW Welt Jazz Award, and subsequently toured Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Luxembourg, China, Italy, Finland, UK and France.

The programme will culminate in FADA’s major fundraising drive in support of the Dean’s Bursary Fund. Presented annually on the first Saturday of November, A Grand Night for Singing will feature familiar and new voices, the UJ Choir and the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra.

UJ Choir

In addition to performing at more than 20 graduation ceremonies and special events, the UJ Choir will perform alongside Hope College (USA) at the Rosebank Catholic Church and with Akustika Chamber Singers at SABC’s M1 Studio in May. The highlight for UJ Choir’s 2018 calendar includes, competing in the much-anticipated World Choir Games in early July.

UJ Choir, Tuks Camerata, and Puk-Koor will be performing in Koorkaleidoscope at the University of Pretoria’s Musaion in August. UJ Choir’s annual programme wraps up with its customary end year Celebration Concert at the end of October.


UJ Weekend of Jazz

Presented in celebration of Africa Day, the inaugural UJ Weekend of Jazz, is scheduled to take place at the UJ Art Centre from 24-26 May. This urban jazz experience, is set to cast a spotlight on exceptionally skilled emerging jazz musicians who are not afraid to experiment or disrupt the notion of jazz.

National Arts Festival

Keeping up the tradition, UJ Arts & Culture will present a substantive programme at the National Arts Festival with the translation of Reza de Wet’s iconic African Gothic (translation of Diepe Grond) headlining the UJ programme, which includes Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney, a music concert and STAGED, a new play development showcase.

UJ Youth Arts Festival

The new festival will cast a spotlight on some of the best new creative voices with students from other institutions, colleges and youth groups joining UJ Arts & Culture students in a showcase of acting, singing, dancing and making music. The festival will be hosted at the UJ Art Centre as well as at the Con Cowan Theatre in August.

Izimbongi Poetry Festival

UJ Arts & Culture’s grand finale after a year-long slam poetry programme with students, school learners and the public will take shape in the form of a week-long poetry festival featuring performances by professional and amateur spoken word artists, book launches, lectures, forum discussions and workshops.


Out the Box Comedy

Back by popular demand, UJ Arts & Culture will again team up with POPArt and Goliath & Goliath to present the Out the Box Comedy shows, culminating in a marathon of 20 comedians performing 5-minute sets each.

Choir Boy

Comprising a combination of student and professional actors, the play tells the story of a young man who wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as leader of the school’s legendary gospel choir. Can he find his way inside the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key? After its premiere at the National Arts Festival, Choir Boy will be performed at the UJ Youth Arts Festival in August.

African Gothic

Set against the backdrop of a farm in desolate ruin, Reza de Wet’s, African Gothic (translation of Diepe Grond), tells the story of the complicated, passionate, and troubled relationship between two siblings. Presented in partnership with Joburg Theatres, the play will be presented at The Fringe following its run at the National Arts Festival in July.


As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. The staging of the play will be the culmination of a year-long process that involves more than 300 students and lecturers from different departments in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) working on various design and development aspects of the work as part of their course work. Kafka’s Metamorphosis, adapted by Steven Berkoff will be tested in October with a view of undertaking full runs in 2019.


MIDM’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Season proudly hosted by UJ Arts & Culture at the UJ Art Centre will comprise two programmes – the first will run from 14 to 16 September 2018 and the second in the following week from 20 to 22 September 2018.

SWAN, inspired by the famous ballet, Swan Lake, and the Japanese social phenomenon Hikikomori, the dance piece was built by Hannah Ma and Kesuke Mihara on Tchaikovsky’s music. SWAN will perform at the Con Cowan Theatre from 21 to 23 September 2018.

For more information visit UJ Arts & Culture’s new user-friendly website and booking system at www.uj.ac.za/arts


About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.