Straddling the academic world of urban studies and creative practice, I am fascinated by the intersection of culture cities, and more specifically on the role of art in urban life. My doctoral research stemmed out of several years of experience as a public arts practitioner, particularly in the NPO dala. The PhD focused on exploring the idea of an affective urbanism by looking at the role public-facing art can play in producing knowledge about the city. Linked to this is exploring the impact of the creative economy and cultural policy.
A large part of this focus means unpacking the notions of public space and public life in Southern cityness. It was this interest that underpinned my involvement in the Density Syndicate and Serious Fun, two components of ACC’s City Desired exhibition. I came to Urban Studies via Historical Studies, Political Science, Sociology and Fine Art. It was this grounding in the Humanities and Social Sciences that underpins my involvement in ACC’s Urban Humanities group. Currently, I am coordinating Cape Town’s involvement in Mistra Urban Futures, UrbanAfrica.Net, Cities Alliance Africa Think Tank, Public Art and the Power of Place, and coordinating the ACC’s Academic Seminar Series.
Over the past 10 years I have been involved in a range of art related projects with organisations such as the Visual Arts Network South Africa (VANSA) and the Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA). I have participated in a range of solo and group shows at the KwaZulu-Natal Society for the Arts (KZNSA), Durban Art Gallery, ArtSpace Durban, The AVA Gallery, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Bag Factory; presented video work in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Rio; have taken part in a range of collaborative public events with local organisations such as Siwela Sonke and CAPE06, and international organisations such as Netherlands Media Institute (NIMK), Cascoland, AvideoArte-Mozambique and Raw Projects amongst others.
I have also coordinated and presented at a range of conferences and public symposia, most recently at GIPCA’s symposium on public art called ‘Remaking Place’ (2015); European Conference on African Studies (2013); and GIPCA’s ‘Thinking the City’ (2012). And presented plenary presentations at ‘Representing the South African City’ at the Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (2013) and the ACC/CUBES South African Cities Conference (2011).
Because I love teaching, especially in creative industries, I have taught critical thinking, culture and media studies and research into the Vega BA and BAHons Degree, and supervised students since 2006. Since 2016. I have been contributing to EGS’ third year course on Geographic Thought and co-teaching a postgraduate course entitled Imagining Southern Cities Through Fiction and Film
- Sitas, R (2019 pending – Sep). ‘Publics, pavements and public-facing art’ in Routledge Handbook on Public Space. London: Routledge
- Perry, B, Auger, L and Sitas, R (2019). ‘Festivals as Integrative Sites: Valuing Tangible and Intangible Heritage for Sustainable Urban Development’ in International Journal of Heritage Studies.
- Borie, M, Ziervogel, G, Taylor, F, Millington, J, Sitas, R and Pelling, M (2019). ‘Mapping for resilience across city scales: An opportunity to integrate data from local and city perspectives’ in Special Issue of Environmental Science and Policy
- Sitas, R (2017). ‘Cultural Policy and the Power of Place, South Africa’ in The Routledge Companion to Global Cultural Policy. London: Routledge
- Sitas, R and Smit, W (2016) ‘Understanding the Just City’ in Co-production in Action: towards realising just cities’. Gothenburg: Mistra Urban Futures
- Sitas, R (2016). ‘Public-facing Art and African Cityness’ in Public Art in Africa: Art and Urban Transformations in Douala. MetisPresses: Geneva
- Sitas, R (2016). ‘Pacifying Publics’ in Public Art Review. 27(1)
- Sitas, R (2015). ‘Community Centres in Crisis: The story of the TSOGA Environmental Resource Centre’ in State/Society Synergy in Philippi, Cape Town. Cape Town: African Centre for Cities
- Sitas, R & Pieterse, E (2013). ‘Democratic Renovations’ in Third Text. 27.3
- Sitas, R (2012). Becoming Otherwise’ in 2010 Reasons to Live in a Small Town. Johannesburg: VANSA
- Sitas, R (2012). ‘Trespassing and the performance of public art’ in Alterating Conditions: Performing Performance Art in South Africa. Johannesburg: Bag Factory
- Sitas, R (2011). ‘On the outskirts of childhood’ and ‘Mother-Cityness: representations of Cape Town’ in Uncontained: Opening the Community Arts Project Archive. Cape Town: Centre for Humanities Research