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  • DUT Alumni


A PhD in Visual and Performing Arts student in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the Durban University of Technology, Dr Robin Gengan recently obtained a 2nd Runner Up Award in the PhD category at the BRICS Postgraduate Research Forum held at the Campinas University in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

His presentation was titled: Innovative entrepreneurship through creative outputs for emerging filmmakers in South Africa: A conceptual framework.

“My presentation was on Entrepreneurial filmmaking within the enterprise development area. The paper describes emerging film creative leadership in terms of an Entrepreneurial Conceptual Framework that includes a functional relationship equation. Both the conceptual framework and the functional relationship equation set innovative and structural foundations and form creative outputs for artists, emerging filmmakers, local independent film productions, and future academic arts studies. My presentation stood out as I approached it from a creative output point of view to observe creative academic brainstorming outside the conventional academic research proposal formats. The presentation was positively received with many encouraging post-presentation comments from the delegates,” explained Dr Gengan.

He is currently pursuing his second PhD after graduating with a full scholarship from DUT for his Doctor of Philosophy in Management Sciences, earlier this year, 2022. The title of his first thesis is: Creative leadership and management in the KwaZulu-Natal film industry. The title of his current research is: A semiotic study of edu-entertainment cinema with special reference to the short film, G27. He is currently a Capacity Development Fellow at the BRICS Research Project. He recently received the Faculty of Arts and Design team award for Creative Outputs of the Year at the DUT ENVISION2030 Institutional Excellence Awards. The team includes Dr Dianna Moodley and Mr Niresh Singh from the Faculty of Arts and Design.

Speaking about his winning presentation, Dr Gengan said it was inspired by Professor Keolebogile Motaung, the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at DUT. He indicated that his campaign towards creative outputs in research was inspired by Prof Motaung’s lessons in creating commercially viable outputs from postgraduate research.

“I attended a workshop that Prof Motaung convened at the Musgrave Coastlands Hotel hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Design. She outlined her success stories in creating commercially viable outputs from postgraduate research in her presentation. She taught us that as researchers we should strive towards creating outputs from out of thesis that will be commercially profitable to sustain future research, add value to our local communities and set foundational platforms for future research. Prof Motaung also provided guidance, advice and support to post-presentation that inspired my campaign towards creative outputs in postgraduate research,” said Dr Gengan.

Passing her congratulatory message to Dr Gengan on his sterling achievement, Prof Motaung said: “Well done Robin. I am so proud of you.”

He further expressed his gratitude to the Faculty of Management Sciences for giving him the opportunity to attend and participate in the BRICS Postgraduate Research Forum in Brazil.

Expressing his excitement in returning home with the award, Dr Gengan said: “I was absolutely thrilled, excited and honoured on receiving the award as DUT was competing with academics from the BRICS postgraduate think tanks. Diverse and challenging thoughts were shared amongst the delegates that stimulated and promoted advance interdisciplinary research.”

According to Dr Gengan, winning this award confirms that South Africa is a notable contributor to global knowledge acquisition in academic research. Although he concentrated on local filmmaking in his research, he believes there are many other exciting and interesting areas in Arts that can be further researched at postgraduate levels. He advises students in Arts to identify unique and untouched topics in their fields of studies and further pursue an exciting journey towards postgraduate research as he feels South Africa offers an abundance of valuable local knowledge in Arts that can be shared globally.

“My presentation was on local entrepreneurial filmmaking within the creative leadership development area, which is a unique field of study. It sets new grounds for further academic research at DUT in the arts discipline. Postgraduate research should not end after graduation, instead it should continue through innovative creative outputs. Academic research can be creative and cool,” concluded Dr Gengan.

Pictured: Dr Robin Gengan who won the 2nd Runner Up Award at the BRICS Postgraduate Research Forum in Brazil.

Simangele Zuma

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