The University of Fort Hare Hunterstoun Centre is a unique African space for research, creativity and reflection, as well as the generation and sharing of new ideas and knowledge.
The Centre is set in the village of Hogsback in the Amatole Mountain Range. It has beautiful gardens and shady trees with a wonderful view over the Tyhume Valley. The area is renowned for its scenic beauty, its indigenous forests, rocky outcrops, streams and waterfalls. The region is rich in history, the earliest inhabitants being the San people and then later, around the 16th to 18th century, the amaXhosa arrived. The Eastern Cape was the site of conflict between British forces and Xhosa warriors over a period of around 100 years and the great Xhosa chief Sandile is believed to be buried in the Amatola Mountains, near Madan Dam.
The Centre is many things - a retreat, a place to study, a space for the exchange of ideas across disciplines and divergent life paths as well as a hub for outreach into the community.
Our work in progress
We are still some way from being the fully functioning residential Centre we envisage but we are able to hold small seminars and workshops. The Centre can host up to 25 people who can use the meeting room, data projector, audio system, flip charts, TV and DVD player, wireless internet access, library and grounds. Participants stay in bed and breakfasts in the village or at Hobbiton and come to the Centre for whatever activities may be taking place.
What will the fully functioning Centre offer?
- Workshops and Conferences. Short term visits lasting from a few days to a week for up to 25 people. These may entail a variety of projects such as visioning, strategic planning, non violence workshops, conciliation work, institutional change, artistic weeks, musical collaboration, planning and reflection, meditation, leadership, author's collaboration and multidisciplinary conferences. Our staff may be able to facilitate individual sessions of workshops or in some cases, such as non violence workshops, organizational change, and strategic planning, the complete workshops. We also have the option of working with an outdoor centre nearby (Hobbiton) which is able to organize activities such as individual and team challenges.
- Residence. Long term study residencies where, writers, artists, poets, scientists, economists, business leaders, community leaders and other scholars come to stay in the community for between a few weeks and three months in order to complete or advance some piece of work. While at the Centre they share communal cooking and dining facilities and are expected to spend some of the day together and to share their work and ideas with each other. It is also expected that whenever possible each resident will make a contribution to the community by way of workshops lectures or whatever is pertinent.
- Research. The Centre has staff that who have research interests in the areas of violence, leadership, the natural environment, the oppression of nonhumans, animal rights organizational change, discourse analysis and power. We will also have volunteers who are studying on site but who have their own research interests which they will share.
- Outreach. Outreach, by our staff into the community, working in transformative peacemaking, reconciliation work, change management, leadership development and rural development.
Above all the Hunterstoun Centre is a community of people from various fields and sectors who are working creatively, exchanging ideas, constructing knowledge, learning skills, teaching skills and reflecting. Some people will spend a short time in the community and others extended periods but the community remains the constant presence in all this. Those who have spent a significant time studying at the Centre will become Hunterstoun Fellows.
Further information about the Centre and the area.
Address by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor MP, at the Monica Hunter Wilson centenary conference, Hogsback. 24th June 2008.
Academic's home to be 'creative centre'