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Wits University hosts PSi Conference for the first time in Africa

- Wits University

The Wits School of Arts in the Faculty of Humanities co-hosts the Performance Studies International (PSi) conference in Johannesburg from 2-5 August 2023.

The Theatre and Performance and Drama for Life departments in Wits School of Arts host the PSi conference from 2-5 August 2023, themed 'embodied wandering practices'_600x300

The Theatre and Performance (TAP) and Drama for Life (DfL) departments in the Wits School of Arts (WSOA) host this multi-site conference in partnership with internationally acclaimed arts and research association, Performance Studies international (PSi).

Themed Uhambo Luyazilawula (“embodied wandering practices”), the conference highlights practices of artists and scholars with indigenous and/or migrant roots in South Africa, and it places these practices and forms of research in dialogue and exchange with the work of artists and scholars in Africa and globally.

A first for Wits University and Africa, the conference will create opportunities for network development, collaborative research and artistic co-production between African countries, African universities, and African cultural sites/hubs.

This will result in the development of new studies, performances, artworks, projects and networks that will endure beyond the conference, thereby continuing the theme of journeying and mapping different spaces and cultures.

The Performance Studies international conference in Africa for the first time in 2023 is hosted by Wits departments of Theatre and Performance and Drama for Life from 2-5 August 2023_600x300

Supported by the fourth edition of the National Arts Council’s Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme, the conference takes place across six cultural sites in Johannesburg including The Wits Theatre Complex, the Centre for the Less Good Idea, Market Theatre, Soweto Theatre, Constitution Hill, and the University of Johannesburg.

Keynote speakers and performances include Dr Mwenya Kabwe, Nondumiso Msimanga, James Ngcobo, and a keynote performance titled HOW: Showing the Making; Sibusiso Shozi. The programme also includes talks, workshops, installations, presentations, exhibitions and performances of Isidlamlulo by the Empatheatre; Khongolose Khommanding Khommissars by Standard Bank’s Young Artist Award Winners; the Theatre Duo; and Mbuso Ndlovu’s Echoes of Heritage.

Associate Professor René Smith, Head of the School of Arts, says: “The conference theme is a relevant and necessary provocation within global and local contexts where freedom of movement and other human rights, as well as democracy per se, are increasingly under threat. Mobility and journeying are universal and core to the human experience. ‘Embodied wandering practices’ invites us to imagine a world of inclusion and interconnectedness. We are especially pleased that the organising committee for this interdisciplinary conference includes creatives and emerging scholars from different disciplines in the Wits School of Arts."

About the collaborators: 

Theatre and Performance Department (TAP) at Wits University

The Theatre and Performance Department (TAP) in the Wits School of Arts is an internationally recognised department in theatre and performance training that aims to produce graduates who are informed and critically aware practitioners. Its mission is to introduce a range of conceptual and creative vocabularies and practices to students pertaining to interdisciplinary theatre and performance modes in South Africa. TAP embraces students who enjoy intellectual adventure and the complex challenges and rewards posed by indigenous and globally established systems of knowledge and practice. TAP values creative practice and orthodox research within the arts that stimulate process-driven practices, collaboration, experimentation, co-direction, co-publication, and shared ownership of intellectual property and space.

Drama for Life (DfL) at Wits University

Drama for Life is internationally recognised as the University of the Witwatersrand’s unique postgraduate academic, research, and community engagement department that brings together the disciplines of Applied Drama and Theatre, Performance Ethnography, Performance Studies, Arts Education, Drama Therapy, and Expressive Arts Therapies within the context of critical reflexive praxis. DfL’s mission is to enhance dialogue for purposes of social transformation and healing through arts-based research, teaching and learning, and community engagement. This is achieved this through critical reflexive and therapeutic arts approaches that relate to current social realities and the rich indigenous knowledge of Africa.

Performance Studies international

Founded in 1997, the Performance Studies international (PSi) association is dedicated to the communication and research exchange of interdisciplinary fields and approaches to scholarship and practices in performance and performance studies. PSi aims to bring together performance-minded people who are working in diverse fields, backgrounds, and contexts of theatre and performance, drama and dance, applied theatre practices, cultural studies, social sciences, and more, to connect and collaborate in ways of sharing and investing in approaches to develop the field of performance studies.