R1m awards granted for research in occupied Palestine territories

06 September 2021 | Professor Sue Harrison

Dear colleagues and students

Last December we invited University of Cape Town (UCT) researchers to submit proposals to help establish and/or strengthen collaborative partnerships between academics at UCT and research institutions in Palestine and in the territories that are engaged in academic or research-related activities that seek to address gross human rights violations.

The purpose of these research collaborations is to build knowledge of relevance to both regions, with identifiable potential for positive impact in the occupied Palestinian territories and identifiable academic development outcomes, preferably in both regions.

I am happy to report that, as a result of this invitation, two awards have been made, valued at a total of R1 million.

Of this amount, R850 000 has been awarded over two years to Professor Tomà Berlanda, in the School of Architecture, Planning & Geomatics in the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment. Professor Berlanda is working with Dr Adila Laidi-Hanieh, the Director-General of the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, on a creative research project that considers the historical similarities and the peculiarities of the systematic regime of human rights violations and land confiscation of the segregationist policies in South Africa and the Israeli occupation of the Palestine territory. Through workshops and mobility exchange, the objective is to bridge between a museographic approach on preserving, documenting, and exhibiting the history of spoliation of the landscape, and a design-based approach on how to conceptualise and exhibit the transformation of the topography of occupation.

In addition, R150 000 seed funding has been awarded over one year to two Faculty of Law senior lecturers – Dr Fatima Osman in Private Law and Ms Salona Lutchman in Public Law – to develop a proof of concept and explore various collaborations with Dr Amir Kalil, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law & Public Administration at Birzeit University. Such collaboration may include enriching the postgraduate and undergraduate programmes in both faculties, as well as joint research projects.

We look forward to the successful outcome of these projects and to a stronger relationship with academic colleagues in Birzeit.


Professor Sue Harrison
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation

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