Department of Creative Arts Collaborative Play Project Makes HSS Awards Long List

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Department of Creative Arts Collaborative Play Project Makes HSS Awards Long List

Department of Creative Arts Collaborative Play Project Makes HSS Awards Long List

The Department of Creative Arts at the University of Zululand (UNIZULU) is ecstatic after receiving news about ALLY “The Algorithm”: An edutainment based on Cyberbullying in the Zululand region making the first cut (long list) of the 9th Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards.

An initiative of the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), the HSS Awards recognise exceptional works produced by higher education institutions in the humanities and social sciences space. To be considered for an award, institutions are required to submit entries detailing their project concept and including a strong motivation. This is followed by an adjudication process which sees the best entries going through various shortlisting stages before the final winner is announced.

ALLY is nominated in the Best Public Performance category alongside 14 other productions by various institutions of higher education.

Creative Arts Department students displaying their outstanding acting skills during a staging of the play at UNIZULU’s Black Theatre

According to Masedi Manenye, a lecturer in the Department of Creative Arts, this is the second consecutive year that his department has received recognition in the HSS Awards. “Last year, we secured a place in the top three for the show ‘IQHUDE sekusile amazi-awekho’. This year, we’ve achieved another milestone and aspire to clinch the top position,” said a hopeful Manenye.  

He added: “We’re committed to elevating our department’s standing in the arts through partnerships with seasoned artists like Ms Tshireletso Nkoane. This acknowledgment underscores our department’s efforts in engaging with the community through theatre practitioners.

“We’re deeply honored to receive this recognition for the second consecutive time and are eager to pursue further collaborations, such as with ALLY ‘the algorithm’ and industry figures like Ms T, as affectionately referred to by our students. These collaborations offer valuable insights into the creative arts industry for both our current students and graduates.”

ALLY is a collaborative project by Tshireletso Nkoane and UNIZULU’s Department of Creative Arts which aims to raise awareness about the dire effects of cyberbullying. It creatively presented social media as a potent marketing and communication tool, while also showing it as an enabler of cyberbullying. This was carried out by personifying the “algorithm” into a living robot (ALLY), who then represented what social media would say if it had the opportunity to speak out.

ALLY ‘The Algorithm” was particularly aimed at educating high school learners about the detrimental effects of cyberbullying, while also inspiring them to utilise social media to promote humanity and respect.
  • Naledi Hlefane

Pictures: James Thwala