Under the working title 'Other lives of the image: examining the meanings of an apartheid-era collection of photographs in South Africa today', the research project will focus on a previously unstudied archive of work by Irene Heseltine, as well as a better known collection of images by her nephew Bryan Heseltine.
Both archives – amounting to around 2,000 images - are held at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, who are collaborators on the research, which will be undertaken at Brighton's Research Centre for Design History and the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories. The deadline for applications is 26 April, with a planned start date of 1 October 2021.
The photographs taken by Irene Heseltine (who may have been Bryan's first photographic tutor) consist mainly of so-called ‘native studies’ in Lesotho. A primary objective of the research will be to retrace the social, cultural and material history of these previously overlooked images to expand our understanding of the contributions of women to South Africa's photographic history.
The Bryan Heseltine archive reveals the daily life, cultural pastimes and housing conditions of South Africans in and around Cape Town in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the country was on the brink of profound political change due to the implementation of an apartheid policy that led to forced removals from their homes of black South Africans on a mass scale.