This paper presents an analytical autoethnographic reflection on the adaptations in approach to the teaching and learning of literacies that led to the writing and research-intensive literacies programme currently presented to first year visual arts students. It maps our practices to theory, and specifically to those of Freire, Lave and Wenger, Mezirow and the transformational education theorists.
Experience tells us that many students entering our programmes are not enthused at the idea of theorizing and writing about art and design, nor are they equipped with the ability to do so. In our quest to find solutions to the 'problem‘ a range of programmatic interventions were introduced over a period of time, including intensive writer-respondent support, with an ever-increasing hands-on engagement on the part of the disciplinary lecturer.
The result was that when a smoothly flowing textual product was produced its ownership was contestable, as the inputs from the "bank" of support were not discernable from those of the student.
After reflection, the programme was refocused into its present "stokvel" form, (the stokvel being based on traditional African concepts of self-help and mutual support, with a group of people contributing to a collective fund from which each, individually, can draw benefits), wherein the ownership of and responsibility for the learning process has been returned to the students, who experience situated learning in a community of practice, with the disciplinary lecturer and the academic-literacies practitioner acting as facilitators.