Art on Our Mind

Art on our Mind is a NRF Thutuka funded research project that focuses on South African women-of-colour creatives, initiated by Prof. Sharlene Khan, visual artist and Associate Professor at the Visual Arts department at the Wits School of Arts. The research team is made up of under- and postgraduate student volunteers from the art department.

Art on our Mind aims to elevate the status and stature of South African women-of-colour creatives, and through them, inspire a new generation. The Art on our Mind research project aims to generate a public archive of primary information and documentation alongside existing resources.


African Feminisms (Afems) Conference is a yearly Humanities and Social Science African feminist conference hosted collaboratively by Rhodes University’s Prof Lynda Gichanda Spencer (and her UCAPI research project), based at the Department of Literary Studies in English, and Prof Sharlene Khan (with her Art on our Mind research project), from the Wits University Fine Art Department.

The conference has taken place in 2017 and 2018 at Rhodes University in Makhanda and at Wits University in Johannesburg in 2019, is scheduled to take place at the University of Cape Town and online in 2021, and returns to Rhodes University for its fifth year anniversary in 2022.

Afems provides a yearly platform for  ideas and current research by Humanities and Social Science students and established scholars, creatives and activists, particularly highlighting Rhodes University’s Departments of Literary Studies in English and Wits University’s Fine Arts collaborations around African feminist engagements in literature, popular culture, the visual arts, art history, performance and visual culture at large.

Afems Website

Decolonial AestheSis Creative Lab

The Decolonial AestheSis Creative Lab invites students from all years and departments to share experimental in-field practices through decolonial AestheSis dialogues with experienced practitioners. The Creative Lab challenges facilitators to reflect on their in-field experimental practices across their professional work: literature scholar/screen writer Prof Bhekizizwe Peterson; US American journalist/documentary filmmaker Jon Alpert; Argentine composer Laura Andel and Indian visual artist Vibha Galhotra; visual artist Dr Sharlene Khan and writer/editor Fouad Asfour.

Students from all years and departments are invited to share experimental in-field practices through decolonial AestheSis dialogues with experienced practitioners. Students will collectively experiment on their future (and experienced) professional practices and imagine creative methodologies in various spaces, including artistic practices in visual arts, music, drama and performance, radio and journalism, film and TV, creative writing, teaching methodologies, cultural activism, community work, language and publishing, and so on.

The Decolonial AestheSis Creative Lab is based on selection through an application process. Students can be at any level of their undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The cost of the Creative Lab is R200 per student (any student not able to afford this fee can write to Dr Khan). Students who are chosen for the Creative Lab must be able to attend the full seven-day lab, from morning to evening sessions. Part of the challenge, and fun of this lab, will be to participate and be exposed to creativity in an inter-disciplinary manner.

Black Feminist Killjoy Reading Group

If you are interested in exploring fictional and non-fictional cultural practices of women killjoys of colour from around the globe – in order to think through our own lives, this reading group is for you. We meet every second Friday in the Department of Fine Art at Wits University. Friends from outside our department and field are most welcome (for the Rhodes University BFK group please email us for details as well). For readings email Prof Sharlene Khan: