Dr Yolandi Burger

PhD, Higher Education Studies (University of the Free State, South Africa) M-Tech, Design (Central University of the Free State, South Africa)

  • Research Fellow

Yolandi’s expertise is in co-design methodologies, responsible citizenship, social change, and research impact, applied in the context of collaboration between local communities, creative industries practitioners, and NGOs. Her design research interests combine the emerging importance of graphic heritage for social impact through design pedagogy and educational technologies in real world scenarios. She has pioneered the development of graphic heritage in South Africa through her work with Nelson Mandela Foundation, bringing together heritage practitioners, archive specialists, intellectual property and copyright professionals, creative industries practitioners, and urban planners, showcasing digital design prototypes for new approaches to conveying Mandela’s graphic heritage connected to places named after him.

Yolandi is an international research fellow who resides in Pretoria, South Africa, She brings a unique perspective to her field of research, which predominantly revolves around the intersection of graphic heritage, place branding, and commemorative spaces. She has established herself as a thought leader together with her fellow researchers in the field of urban graphic heritage, contributing significantly to the understanding of how graphic heritage influences means, meanings, and measures. Her research, often situated in the context of South Africa, delves into the affective bond between people and places, exploring the profound impact of commemorative spaces named after iconic figures such as Nelson Mandela.

Other areas of research interests include design education, co-design methodologies, responsible citizenship, social change and what is next within our ever-changing discipline.

Yolandi joined several academic teams over the past decade and a half in several capacities including programme coordination/management, curriculum developer, lecturer and research supervisor. Her experience is centred around Graphic Design programmes and their collaboration with other disciplines such as Digital Design, Copywriting, Brand Strategy, Interior Design, Photography, Game Design and Fashion Design. She applies design thinking approaches to design curriculum for “real” people.

Yolandi is a former lecturer at the School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University. She is currently based in South Africa where she specialises in teaching design research methodology and providing postgraduate supervision.

Yolandi is a key collaborator in the Named after Nelson [NaN] project which focus on applying findings from the AHRC-Newton Fund Repositioning Graphic Heritage (RGH) project (AH/S003398/1, c. £250k, 2018–21) to generate impact by working in collaboration with Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) in Johannesburg, and in the context of what can be learned from places named after Nelson Mandela (NM). Her work within this project involves a strategic partnership with the NMF. The project encompasses an interactive photographic exhibition of stakeholder engagement workshops, toolkits development, and activities aligned with global events such as Nelson Mandela International Day. This research extends beyond theoretical frameworks, aiming for tangible outcomes with a societal impact. Yolandi's commitment to community engagement is evident in her efforts to involve local communities in the co-production of commemorative materials, fostering an improved understanding of place naming and graphic heritage.