Christian Ernsten

Christian Ernsten is affiliated to the University of Cape Town and the Reinwardt Academy as, respectively, a researcher and a lecturer. In his PhD thesis he looked at how Cape Town is simultaneously reinvented and haunted. As part of his methodology he used, amongst others, a combination of embedded ethnographic research and forms of embodied research.  


As a practitioner he frequently collaborates with photographer Dirk-Jan Visser with whom he co-convenes the Atelier aan de Middendijk artist-in-residency. Previously, he directed Partizan Publik. This Amsterdam-based company produced city guides, initiated exhibitions and events and he acted as editor at Volume, a quarterly for architecture, urban design and visual culture. Please click here for more information. 















Shepherd, N. & C. Ernsten (2007). The World Below: Postapartheid urban imaginaries and the remains of the Prestwich Street dead, in Desire Lines: Space, memory and identity in the postapartheid city, eds. N. Murray, N. Shepherd & M. Hall Oxford: Routledge, 215-32.

Ernsten, C. (2014). ‘Following the ancestors: A genealogy of urban design in Cape Town: 6 moments’, Archaeologies 10: 108-131.

Ernsten, C (2015). ‘The Ruins of Cape Town’s District Six’, Archaeologies 11: 342-371.

Ernsten, C (2017). ‘Truth as Historical Recapitulation. The Heritage of the Dead of Cape Town’s District One’, International Journal of Heritage Studies 23: 6

Ernsten, C (Forthcoming). ‘A renaissance with revenants: images gathered from the ruins of Cape Town’s Districts One and Six’ in Laura McAtackney and Krysta Ryzewski (eds) Contemporary Archaeology and the City. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Photo credits (top to bottom) Dirk-Jan Visser, Sarah de Gouveia and Sarah de Gouveia.