In the Loop
Press Release : Jul 3, 2014

Kate Wells Discusses the Siyazama Project, a Rural Craft and HIV/AIDS Education and Awareness Project in South Africa, July 10 at the Harn’s Museum Nights

Gainesville, Fla., July 3, 2014 — The University of Florida (UF) Center for Arts in Medicine, UF Center for African Studies and the Harn Museum of Art will welcome Professor Kate Wells to the Harn Museum of Art Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m. for a special discussion during the Harn’s Museum Nights: Creative B – Tokaido Road event, which is part of UF’s Creative B summer activities.

In “Art, AIDS and Education: Insights into the rural craft Siyazama Project” Wells will discuss some of the creative pathways, projects and rural crafts interventions that she has experienced in her work with craft communities in South Africa and in Uganda over a period of more than ten years. Aimed at finding significant and appropriate art and health methodologies to enhance the overall well-being of craftspeople, the presentation will reveal a contemporary insight of the Siyazama Project, a rural craft and HIV/AIDS education and awareness project that Wells leads in South Africa. While making sense of complex cultural tensions, which must guide approaches to undertaking development work with rural communities, the presentation also considers the implications of craftspeople as partners in development rather than as “passive” recipients.

“We are thrilled to be able to present Kate’s beautiful work to our community,” said Jill Sonke, director of UF’s Center for Arts in Medicine. “I have been inspired by Kate’s work in South Africa for years and know that the many people in Gainesville who work in healthcare, the arts and community development will find useful insights that can be applied both locally and in international work.”

Wells, who holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, ran the master’s degree class in the graphic design program in the Department of Visual Communication Design at Durban University of Technology in Durban, South Africa, for eight years. She is now semi-retired and is a research professor still linked with Durban University of Technology.

The Siyazama Project, the basis of Wells’ ongoing anthropological and ethnographic study and research, is recognized as a unique project, as it engages hard-to-reach communities through its unique visual communicative methodologies. The model, which employs art and design in the fight against AIDS, has led to the strengthening of craft-based economic development for women in rural villages in South Africa, as well as in Kenya, Uganda and East Africa. A new book on the project titled Siyazama: Art, AIDS and Education, has been published through UKZN Press in South Africa.

For more information about the Harn Museum of Art and Museum Nights, visit or call (352) 392-9826. To learn about UF’s Creative B summer program and related activities, visit

About UF’s Center for Arts in Medicine

The Center for the Arts in Medicine was established at the University of Florida in 1999. The Center grew from the groundbreaking clinical work of the Shands Arts in Medicine program, and serves as the academic, research and community outreach component of the partner programs. It is the mission of the Center for the Arts in Medicine to facilitate research, education and training in the use of the arts to enhance the healing process, to further develop arts in health care as career options for artists and to promote art and creativity as catalysts for developing healthy lifestyles. The Center provides a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration among University of Florida faculty and students, healthcare providers, clinical artists, and our local and global communities. The Center develops and effects interdisciplinary research studies and educational curricula on all levels and serves as a national model for the arts in healthcare research, education and training. To learn more, visit

About the College of the Arts

The College of the Arts, previously known as the College of Fine Arts, is one the 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The College of the Arts offers baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its three fully-accredited schools — the School of Art + Art History, School of Music and School of Theatre + Dance. The college is home to the Center for Arts in Medicine, Center for World Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University Galleries and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. More than 100 faculty members and more than 1,220 students work together daily to engage, inspire and create. The college hosts more than 300 performances, exhibitions and events each year. Faculty and students also exhibit and perform at other local, national and international venues. To learn more, visit

About the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

Founded in 1990, the Harn Museum of Art is an integral part of the University of Florida. The Harn contributes to an interconnected, international community by integrating the arts and culture into curricula throughout the university’s system of colleges and centers. Its holdings include more than 9000 works in five main collecting areas: Asian art, African art, photography, modern art of the Americas and Europe, and international contemporary art. The museum also has noteworthy collections of Oceanic and Ancient American Art and works on paper. In addition to rotating installations drawn from its permanent collection, the Harn organizes traveling exhibitions, public lectures, panel discussions, academic symposia, and educational programs for adults, students, and children.

The Harn Museum of Art, at 3259 Hull Road in Gainesville, Florida, is part of the University of Florida’s Cultural Plaza, which is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month for Museum Nights. The Camellia Court Café is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit

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Media Contacts:

Leah Craig

University of Florida College of the Arts

Office: 352.273.1489 | Cell: 904.419.3346

Tami Wroath

Harn Museum of Art 

Office: 352.392.9826 x2116