visit to Southern Africa
19 March-4 April 2001
3.0 Executive Summary
Prior to this visit, the delegation had only limited knowledge of the state
of computer graphics and interactive techniques in Southern Africa. The
trip was hectic and it was simply not possible to visit everyone we would
like to have seen. However, the delegation did meet a significant number
of key ``players'' in the region and the trip as a whole can be seen as
a significant success.
3.1 Key Points
There was more activity in the field of computer graphics and interactive
techniques than had been expected. In addition to innovative academic work
in the field, many companies and initiatives were identified.
3.2 Local Issues
Several common local difficulties were identified
The need for bandwidth and network stability.
The significant loss of graduates from the region
The need for capacity development, that is, increasing the productive capacity
of the population.
The importance of cultural relevance in content creation
The Southern African Graphics Association AFRIGRAPH was initiated. The
formal ``launch'' of the association and the nomination of Executive Members
will take place at the AG2001 conference, scheduled for 5-7 November 2001.
An interim committee will oversee the activities AFRIGRAPH until then.
When the delegation left Southern Africa, AFRIGRAPH already had 23
Many details of AG2001 were finalised and a number of novel initiatives,
such as AGKids were proposed.
Administrators in academia in the region, and a few in government, were
educated about the importance of computer graphics as a field, and in particular
the need to establish cross-discliplinary links to facilitate work in
Significant enthusiasm for the ACM SIGGRAPH Educators Program was generated.
A number of Southern African applications to this scheme are
Although too late for this S2001, a number of Student Volunteer applications
are expected for S2002.
The region is now far more familiar with the aims and goals of ACM SIGGRAPH,
Eurographics and ACM, and the delegation now has a deeper understanding
of the work being carried out in Southern Africa and its particular local
The ACM Digital Library generated considerable interest. Virtually every
institution visited was interested in exploring the establishment of a
ACM Digital Library consortium in the region.
3.4 Follow Up
Several action items have been identified to complete the tasks identified
during the visit.
A reception to be organised at S2001 for AFRIGRAPH. The reception will
be used as an opportunity to present the results of the delegation's trip,
to promote AFRIGRAPH and AG2001, and inform the attendees (including invited
alumni from Southern Africa), of the opportunities in the region.
Alumni lists will be solicited from the Universities in Southern Africa,
so that U.S. resident alumni may be invited to the AFRIGRAPH
Travelling Art Show to visit Southern Africa, preferably to coincide with
Symposia Committee proposal to fund a full AG2001 committee meeting in
Project Grants proposal to provide financial support to enable those Southern
African educators who receive Educator grants to attend S2001.
Consider holding the November ACM SIGGRAPH EC meeting in Cape Town to coincide
with AG2001. Note: The November EC meeting is the meeting held outside
North America in keeping with ACM SIGGRAPH's international status.
Provide links to various open source material - these links can be noted
on the AFRIGRAPH web pages.
Possible ACM support to reduce the fixed costs of the AG2001 conference.
This will allow the registration fee to be lowered and thus encourage more
attendees, especially students and delegates from across Africa.
Details of European Framework VI and American NSF funding opportunities
for collaborative projects with Southern Africa need to be made available.
Partnership opportunities should also be developed.
Math Visualization tapes to Mr Bunu
ACM Digital Library Consortia to be defined together with identifying ways
to provide more efficient access to the material from the Southern Africa.
3.5 Measurement of Success
Although the delegation certainly succeeded in its goals, the following
criteria are identified to see whether the delegation's visit will have
a long term effect on the development of computer graphics and interactive
techniques in Southern Africa.
The success of AFRIGRAPH
substantial numbers of members from across the region and throughout
enthusiastic volunteers wishing to ensure AFRIGRAPH is a success
rapidly updated information on the web relating to opportunities within
the success of AG2001
large number of regional and international submissions/attendees
the desire to make the event annual
The success of AFRIGRAPH reception at S2001
large number of alumni attendees
detailed information on the delegation's visit, opportunities in Southern
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