Post-apartheid South Africa is a laboratory of social transformation. Working within this context we will address this changing world and reflect on how key notions of ‘the canon’, aesthetics and standards of excellence play out in a culturally diverse world.

Institutions are shaped by history, by social context, by those who lead and teach, who are themselves shaped by history, education, context and institutional cultures. Increasingly though, institutions are also impacted by the pressures of those who fund them, either as public authorities or as fee-paying students. How do leaders
 of institutions - themselves in the process of transformation - disrupt, reinforce or
nuance the tensions between the economic, the political, the cultural and the artistic dimensions?

While many art schools and universities are facing some of these questions in the light of economic pressures and demographic shifts, the intensity with which South African institutions are dealing with these will provide a new lens and focus for leaders of institutions to reflect on these issues of transformation and change.

The tripartite conference title is reflected by the keynotes and correlating roundtable discussions, each focusing on one of the key terms:

DOMINANCE reflects on what has been called the ‘Canon’ in recent aesthetics theory and puts up for debate the relevance of ideas like objective standards of excellence- which are largely Eurocentric in historical origin- in art and art education in the 21st century and future developments.  

DISRUPTION reflects on how the emergence of alternative sources of knowledge and value has affected and transformed the established social, cultural, economic and educational institutional structures. 

DIVERSITY reflects on different points of view on cultural diversity and the challenges, as well as the opportunities, developments such as globalisation, worldwide migration processes and cultural changes in society present for established institutional structures like art universities and colleges- now and in the future.  

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