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Federico Freschi

Professor and Head of College of Art, Design & Architecture, University of Otago

Federico Freschi was appointed Professor and Head of College of the College of Art, Design & Architecture at the Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand in October 2019. Prior to that, he was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He began his academic career as a lecturer in History of Design at what was then the Cape Technikon (now the Cape Peninsula University of Technology), and taught subsequently at the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand. In his PhD thesis Federico considered the political iconography of South African public buildings in the 1930s in relation to the political tensions between nationalism and imperialism at the time. As an ongoing research project, the scope of this work has subsequently expanded to encompass post-Second World War as well as post-apartheid public architecture and the extent to which the decorative programmes of public buildings are implicated in the construction of imaginaries of national belonging. A secondary line of research has been into the construction of the canon of modern South African art, and more recently how the art market is implicated in this. He has published widely on these and other subjects and is frequently invited to speak in national and international forums. He holds a C1 rating from the South African National Research Foundation. He has taken occasional breaks from academia to work briefly as a researcher and consultant in human resources, and more recently as Executive Manager and Senior Curator of the Goodman Gallery, Cape Town. In 2016, Prof Freschi was the South African curator (with Patrice Deparpe of the Musée Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France) of the exhibition ‘Henri Matisse: Rhythm and Meaning’, at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg. This was the first exhibition devoted to Matisse on the African continent. Professor Freschi has active relationships with several professional bodies and has served on various boards. Amongst others, he is a former Vice-President on the board of Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA); formerly held the position of President of SAVAH (South African Visual Arts Historians; was a member of the editorial board of De Arte (University of South Africa Press) and is on the advisory committee of Forum Kunst und Markt (Technische Universität Berlin), and a member of the Committee on Design of the College Art Association (CAA) in the United States.