What might we expect to learn about a famous person from a place named after them? Is naming an urban place simply an act of commemoration, or should such locations be further enhanced through educational resources that enhance symbolic representations? Inspired by initial discussions with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa, the Memorialising Mandela in the Metropolis project highlights the synthesis of cultural heritage and graphic form through a concentration on places named after Nelson Mandela. Answering the above questions benefits from the conflation of heritage interpretation with graphic communication as graphic heritage. This synthesis provides the basis for new perspectives on the emergence of urban-graphic-heritage, from signage to statues and other graphic devices that contribute to place identity and its relevance to urban environments sensitive to heritage.
Commemorations of Nelson Mandela in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa (Photography: Everardt Burger and Yolandi Burger 2022)
Nelson Mandela Park, Mamelodi, Pretoria, South Africa (Photography: Fidel Mosupye of Supreme Images 2021)
Read about the research
Harland, R.G., Burger, Y., Barnes, A. and Burger, E. (2022) “Memorialising Madiba in South Africa: The role of graphic heritage and toponymy in two contrasting urban places”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v7i1.1571. (In press)
Harland, R.G., Barnes, A., & Burger, Y. (2021) ‘The absence of graphic representations of Madiba in Nelson Mandela Park, Mamelodi, South Africa’. In With Design – 9th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2021, Hong Kong, 5–9 December. DOI: tbc (In press, soon to be published by Springer)
de Menezes Migliari, M., & Harland, R.G. (2021) ‘Making Praça Nelson Mandela: Morphological change and graphic interventions to define a new square in the Botafogo district of Rio de Janeiro.’ In With Design – 9th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2021, Hong Kong, 5–9 December. DOI: tbc (In press, soon to be published by Springer)
Commemorative plaque in Nelson Mandela Park, Leicester, England. (Photograph: Robert Harland 2021)
The research extends the Newton Fund Repositioning Graphic Heritage project, which established how town and cityscapes are dense in graphic heritage, often triggering diverse memories and meanings in as many forms as there are people.