School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (MIT&G) postgraduate students and staff attended the 11th American-African-European (AAE) Summer School and ARTEM International Conference at the ICN Business School in Nancy, France.
Students who attended the conference – themed: Organisational Creativity and Sustainability – were selected based on blind review of abstracts followed by individual presentations to a panel of academics.
The students were: Mr Abdulbaqi Badru (MCom in Information Systems Technology), Mr Henry Kyeremateng-Boateng (PhD in Marketing), Ms Pamela Nkabane (Doctor of Administration Governance), Mr Pfano Mashau (PhD in Management), Mr Vusumuzi Maphosa (PhD in Information Systems Technology), Ms Shivani Moodley (MCom in Management), Mr Taurai Muparadzi (Doctor of Administration in Public Governance) and Mr Sandile Mkhize.
The students described the two weeks educational experience as very enriching as not only did they learn about innovation, creativity, sustainability and research but they were also exposed to different cultures as they interacted with students from France and Germany.
‘The summer school was multifaceted,’ said Badru. ‘My engagement and networking with other students from the ICN Business School in France and TU Chemnitz in Germany enabled me to engage at a very different level in an interdisciplinary space. The art-based intervention approach such as using Lego to express oneself was unique as it enhanced my critical thinking ability. The ARTEM OCC encouraged me to think outside the box and stirred a need to engage in interdisciplinary research in the future.’
For Mashua, who also lectures at UKZN’s Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L), visiting the ICN Business School created an opportunity for him to explore the similarities and differences between the two institutions.
‘As a student based at the GSB&L I had a lot to observe when we arrived at the ICN business. There were few differences to note starting from the outlook of the school, modules, staff members, and students. I have learned and I will always remember that when an individual or organisation is confronted with a problem, a solution to it might come from playful or artistic or non-traditional interventions,’ he said.
The students were accompanied by staff members UKZN Summer School Co-ordinator Mr Taahir Vajeth, Professor Isabel Martins, Dr Andrisha Beharry-Ramraj and Ms Jayrusha Ramasamy-Gurayah. A condition of participation in the summer school was the submission of a journal article to an accredited journal.
Beharry-Ramraj described the experience as insightful and the recommendations and suggestions on her article based on Community Sustainability of Solar Home Systems in the Matatiele Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, have given her new perspectives.
‘Having had this opportunity I personally feel the experience has added value to my career as an academic To be in the presence of the best researchers in the world sharing in their wisdom and insights was incredibly informative and inspiring.’
Ramasamy-Gurayah said the experience was a valuable contribution to the development of her academic career and she would produce an article titled: Extreme Weather Survival Strategies for Sustainable Agriculturally Based Organisations: A Case on Blinkwater Mills.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo