Inclusion and Social Justice in Postgraduate Supervision: Trans4m participates in first Postgraduate Supervision Forum at UJ in South Africa

16 March 2018: The first Postgraduate Supervision Forum at the University of Johannesburg addressed both experienced as well as emerging supervisors from different faculties to discuss issues that impact on postgraduates and their supervisors. 

Trans4m Co-Founder Alexander Schieffer was invited as a panellist by the host of the Forum, the Postgraduate School of the University of Johannesburg. Panellists, together with the audience, explored the theme of “Inclusion and Social Justice in Postgraduate Supervision”. The audience was also joined by Trans4m Fellows Premie Naicker and Marlene de Beer.


The engaged discussion tapped into issues such as: power dynamics between supervisor and supervisee; postcolonialism; local knowledge production; social justice; the constitutional perspective on social justice; and the overall orientation of the university towards social justice, among others. It brought out, as in the Trans4m workshop in the morning, the systemic inhibitions that UJ, like other universities face, to transcend a rather narrow perspective of a highly individualised, power-laden superviser-supervisee relationship.

Schieffer, on behalf of Trans4m, placed his emphasis on the need to evolve the role of a supervisor into that of a catalyst and co-creator; the importance to move from individualized to collective research; the urge for authentically African research methodologies; and the vital role of African knowledge production – with all of these points being crucially related to the potential of the research process to lead to social impact and social justice.