Associate Professor Kurt Campbell

Associate Professor – Theory and Practice Director

Dr Kurt Campbell is a past Harvard University fellow and visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota and the American University in Cairo. He has developed productive interdisciplinary dialogues as an artist and writer extending his practice into fields as broad as pugilism, textuality and historiography. South Africa’s recent political past and the accompanying legacies often feature in his writing and artwork. Crucially, this focus is not to re-inscribe the ideas of ‘race’ or ‘apartheid’, but rather to assist with a final critique of these boundaries and thus contribute to a potentially richer self-concept for individuals as they move in the intellectual world.            

Notable writing projects  appear in the following international peer-reviewed journals: "European Journal of English Studies", Harvard University's "Transition" and Brill's "Philological Encounters"   

His published monograph positions the writing of the blinded champion boxer Andrew Jeptha as an important contribution to Postcolonial and Disability Studies:                  

Campbell’s recent artworks combine sculpture and Augmented Reality (AR) to facilitate interactive art experiences. Recent exhibitions that reflect these creative concerns include Night Fighter (2014) and Boxing Ghosts (2015) at the District Six Museum. These projects were largely concerned with historical interpretation through exhibition making and the productive possibilities that early black pugilists from Cape Town offer in thinking the limits of racial subjectivity and self-craft in contemporary society.                                                               

The exhibition “Athlone in Mind” was curated by Campbell in 2017 forming part of the annual meeting of the Consortium for Humanities Centres and Institutes. The accompanying catalogue and digital interface was awarded the University of the Western Cape Faculty of Arts Publication Award for 2017 for Creative Work .

Campbell holds a BAFA and P.G.C.E. from the University of Cape Town and a MAFA from Stellenbosch University where he taught for four years before joining the Michaelis School of Fine Art. His PhD was completed at the Centre for Humanities Research (NRF Flagship on Critical Thought in African Humanities) at the University of the Western Cape.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018 "Museum of Unknown Boxers". Solo exhibition with catalogue containing international authors. Stellenbosch University Museum. 5 - 31 October 2018.
  • 2015 “Boxing Ghosts: Augmented Reality Art in conversation with the District Six Museum Archive”.
    District Six Museum.
  • 2014 “Night Fighter”. The Black Box Gallery and project space. Cape Town.
  • 2011 “From the Experiences of a South African Boxer in Britain” Cape Town City Hall, commissioned as part of the Republic: Art, Authority, Nationhood conference.
  • 2007 “Fever Sleep” Wordart, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • 2007 “Pillows for Death” Netherlands, Fundament Foundation, Tilburg.
  • 2004 “Video Gaze” Curve Space Photographic Studio, Woodstock.

Group Exhibitions

  • 2017 “Artivive/ Improper Walls Augmented Reality international group exhibition”. Improper Walls Gallery. Vienna, Austria. November 2017.
  • 2014 “20 years of Democracy: Toward a brave new world: Work from the permanent collection 1994-2014″. IZIKO National Gallery of South Africa.
  • 2013 “Three and a Half Meters: Committee’s Choice” Main Gallery of the Association for Visual Arts (AVA).
  • 2010 Spier Contemporary Art Biennale. National Touring Group Exhibition
  • 2010 “Artworks in Progress 10” Group Exhibition of the academic staff. Michaelis Gallery. Curated by Nadja Daenke.
  • 2007 Print 07. Bell Roberts Gallery at Lourensford. 4 August- 4 October 2007.Group exhibition of print portfolios
  • 2006 “Spit 2” Exhibition of prints from Staff of the Stellenbosch Art Department. University of Stellenbosch Gallery
  • 2003 Printmaking group exhibition (3rd Impact! Printmaking Conference): University of Stellenbosch Gallery
  • 2002 “Photo Art 2002” (Photographic Exhibition): SASOL Museum


  • 2013 International Visiting Scholar award. The Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Global Change Fellowship. Minnesota University.
  • 2013 NRF PhD and Project Thuthuka Grant
  • 2012 Mellon Humanities Research Project Award
  • 2009 Gordon Institute of the Performing and Creative Arts project seed funding
  • 2008 UCT Research and Innovation Concept Funding Gant for typeface development
  • 2007 Fundament Foundation (Netherlands) International Artist in Residence Grant
  • 2001 Nelson Mandela Foundation Bursary.
  • 2000 Member: Golden Key National Honour Society
  • 2000 Design South Africa Scholarship.
  • 1999 National Arts Council Scholarship.


  • Commissioned curator of contemporary art exhibition: ‘Athlone in Mind’ at the Castle of Good Hope forming part the annual meeting of the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes. Substantial award winning catalogue (120 pages) forms an integral part of this project:


  • Campbell, K (2019) Typographic Reification: Instantiations from the Lucy Lloyd Archive and Contemporary Typefaces from Southern Africa. ARTS.Arts 2019, 8(2), 51;
  • Campbell, K (2018) The Sand Writing and Alternate Alphabets of Willem Boshoff, Philological Encounters 3: 524-549
  • Campbell, K. (2014). Harvard University Hutchins Center for African and African
  • American Research. To think as a boxer: thoughts on reading Shadow Boxing. Transition journal, No. 116, Nelson Mandela, pp. 120-127
  • Campbell, K. (2014) Time to Time, Text to text: The divergence of Andrew Jeptha’s booklet in the exhibition Night Fighter Catalogue Essay from the exhibition Night Fighter ISBN: 978-0-620-58930-7
  • Campbell, K (2013): The Sociogenic Imperative of Typography, European Journal of English Studies, 17:1, 72-91
  • Campbell, K. (2012). Mandindi’s Mirror: books, reading and textuality. Uncontained: Opening the Community Arts Project Archive. Eds Heidi Grunebaum and Emile Maurice. ISBN 978-1-86808-729-7
  • Campbell, K . (2010). More than just a Pretty Face: responding to the hegemony of the serif, Artworks in Progress, journal of the staff of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, Cape Town . ISBN: 978-0-620-48450
  • Recasting the Colophon : typography specimen and catalogue published by Kurt Campbell 2009. ISBN 9780620457347.
  • Campbell, K. (2009). Negating the Serif: Postcolonial approaches to Typographic Design Conference proceedings of the 12th National Design Educator’s Forum of South Africa. ISBN 978-1-920176-63-1
  • Campbell, K. Colonial Pillow Series. Pg 77-79. Artworks in Progress, 2008. Vol 9. ISBN 978-0-620-42166-9
  • Campbell, K. Fever-Sleep: Solo Exhibition Catalogue of Kurt Campbell. Published by the artist 2007. Featuring images of the work and interview with the artist.
  • Design Achievers: 20 years of nurturing design leadership in South Africa. 2007.Published by the SABS Design Institute. Pg 67-69.ISBN 978-0-626-19934-0
  • Spit: Visual Journal of Stellenbosch University Art Department. 2005. Vol1. Pg 42-45. “ degrees centigrade”.
  • Artworks in Progress: Journal of the Staff of Michaelis School of Fine Art. 2006. Volume 8. Pg 58-61.


  • 2018. 2nd NEST (Narrative Enquiry for Social Transformation) International Conference, , South Africa Night Writing: The Textual Ideation of Andrew Jeptha 22-24 March 2018, Wits Club, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 
  • 2018. South African Visual Art Historians Conference (SAVAH). Troubling Legacies. Stellenbosch University. July 2018.
  • 2016. Gendered making/unmanned modernisms conference: WITS university (13-17/06/2016) Part of Multiple Modernisms: Twentieth-Century Artistic Modernisms in Global Perspective: a research cluster supported by the Leverhulme Trust and in association with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge.
  • 2015. Conference paper: Zukunftsphilologie Winter Academy , World Scripts: Concepts and Practices of Writing from a Comparative Perspective , 4 - 14 September 2015, University of Cape Town
  • 2014. University of Leeds History Department. Transgressing Racial Boundaries Conference.“Boxing clever: A South African boxer’s text from 1907”. Cape Town.
  • 2014. International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS). “‘Muscular Dreams: Understanding the violence of early racially charged boxing films” (1900-1920)”. Cape Town.
  • 2013 “The Imperative of typography”. Typecon. Portland, Oregon, U.S.A
  • 2009 “Negating the Serif: Postcolonial approaches to typeface design” – 12th National Design Educators Forum of South Africa. Graaff Reinet.
  • 2008 “The Postcolonial Visualogue” – South African Art Historians Conference. University of Stellenbosch.
  • 2003 “Critical Lessons from the Theory of Technology” – Design Education Forum of South Africa. Clarence.
  • 2000 “Design and Social Cohesion” – Zsennye International Design Conference. Hungary


  • Iziko National Gallery of South Africa, Permanent Collection
  • Fundament Foundation, Netherlands, Curator Collection

Selected Design Projects

  • Founder of the Iron Age Digital Font Foundry.

Selected Leadership Positions

  • 2009 Design Education Forum of South Africa Management Committee member
  • 2006 Chairman of the South African Bureau of Standards Design Achievers Awards
  • 2004 Committee Member: University of Stellenbosch Marketing Committee.
  • 2003 Expert Panel Adjudicator: South African Bureau of Standards Design Achievers Awards