Wednesday, 26 September 2012 00:00

Wits University adopts ITCH

ITCH is proud and delighted to announce that the School of Literature, Language and Media at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has taken over its publication. The first issue of ITCH (and the eleventh issue of the online journal overall) to be published by the University will appear in April 2013.

This is an exciting new development for ITCH, as it means that the journal will benefit not only from the insitutional backing of one of the most prestigious universities in South Africa, but that it will also be able to draw on the immense wealth of intellectual and creative talent based there. ITCH will enter this new phase of its existence with a new editorial board in place, as well as future involvement from postgraduate students in the Wits School of Literature, Language and Media.

ITCH has had a long association with Wits: the journal was originally established by Wits graduate Mehita Iqani and publisher Brendon Bell-Roberts in 2003 and since then has attracted a substantial reputation as a creative journal committed to providing an open and experimental space for new and established writers and artists. Discussions between Mehita (now a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Wits) and Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (the head of the Creative Writing programme at Wits) about the future of ITCH and the possibility of a creative journal in the School led to the proposal that it consider taking on the publication of ITCH. ITCH fits well with the aims of the SLLM and the aspirations of the Faculty of Humanities under Dean Tawana Kupe (who was a member of the original editorial board of ITCH).

ITCH will continue its commitment to new and experimental creative expression and to seeking a wide readership both within and beyond the University. It will continue to publish the work of new and established writers and artists. We believe that the new partnership with Wits will allow the journal to extend and deepen its mandate, and create more opportunites for writers and artists.

A newly formed editorial board is now in place and a new ITCH website will launch with the first issue in November 2012. Until then, this website remains live with the archive of all ten existing online issues (which will be transferred over to the new platform in due course). The new website will feature new tools and facilities that will make submission easier and more efficient, and be able to accommodate more complex audio and visual submissions.

ITCH and Wits are delighted by this development and foresee a fruitful and dynamic future for the journal.

A personal note from the outgoing ITCH Editor, Mehita Iqani:  
I am so proud of everything that ITCH has achieved over the past nine years: publishing in print, publishing online, publishing the work of around 1,000 contributors on paper and in binary code during that time, creating a community, and staying true to the mandate of supporting creative expression in all its forms. I am deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to work on this project for so long. I have learned so much. I have become who I am. ITCH not only taught me things, but delivered me gifts: I have made friends with many people whom I first met through ITCH. I have stayed friends with the wonderful Brendon and Suzette Bell-Roberts with whom I first started this awesome project. I have enjoyed the challenge and satisfaction of being able to manifest ideas into real things. ITCH has been - and will always be - an important part of my identity. I am affirmed by the fact that Wits University recognises the value that ITCH holds, enough to adopt it and continue supporting its publication. ITCH needs a future that is collaborative and increasingly open, and in which many more people can play a part in its making. I am excited to continue working with all of the marvellous new colleagues at Wits who have come on board to co-manifest ITCH in this new chapter of its life: as the Journal of Creative Expression of the School of Literature, Language and Media at Wits. I am very hopeful and energised by this new chapter in ITCH's life. Thank you to all past contributors and collaborators (especially Hein Bekker), who have helped to pave the pathway to here and now. The future is ahead, it will be better: onward and upward!