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About the Artistic Research in Africa Conference

Can a conference be a machine for thinking through new ideas in a collectivity or from a multiplicity of perspectives? Since the question of artistic research in Africa is new and evolving, we have structured the conference to operate as an open-ended interrogative machine.


This conference incorporates a wide variety of inputs, from traditional conference paper presentations and panels, to performances, interactive engagements and workshops.

We have also been as inclusive as possible, treating postgraduate student work as having the same potential as the work of established figures in the field. All the work selected for this conference was chosen because of the vigour and freshness of the ideas expressed in the proposals, and the potential for the work to open up new ways of thinking about artistic practice and research in Africa in the 21st century.

We have designed the conference to foreground the asking of questions, as well as sharing ideas and critique through recognising that artistic research, with its emphasis on embodied knowledge and new forms of subjectivity represents multiple challenges for traditional academic hierarchies. In programming of this conference, we have almost as many “performance-lectures” as we have traditional academic papers. More than one group of presenters have chosen to further question the format of the conference, with anti-panels; while others offer interactive workshops on indeterminism, decolonisation of the mind, and the potential of digital networked media to link embodied performances across the continent.

With over sixty presenters, this promises to be a very exciting conference which will articulate the questions that need to be taken forward into the development of artistic research in Africa.