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About the Conference

Internationally acclaimed arts and research association, Performance Studies international (PSi), in partnership with the Wits Theatre and Performance and Drama for Life departments, are hosting the first Performance Studies Conference in Africa in August 2023. 

The conference is grounded through Uhambo, an IsiZulu word that translates to ‘a journey’. As such, the conference theme follows the phrase uhambo luyazilawula, which loosely translates to ‘a journey controls itself.’ Thus, through a recognition of mobility, journeying, movement and migration, the conference positions itself as the springboard from which contemporary creative research and scholarship about Performance Studies can be produced about Africans and by Africans. 

The conference, which will host traditional presentations of academic papers and panel discussions, also seeks to prioritise creative research and arts-based practices as legitimate means of knowledge production on Performance Studies methodologies in Africa, centering Wits School of Arts and Johannesburg as the creative hub of embodied epistemologies in this interdisciplinary field.

The conference, in both its theme and structure, intends to apply the embodied practice of traveling, of moving, and of journeying - between spaces, places, and locations. The wandering nature of the conference thus manifests the practice of ‘ukuhamba’ through collaborative partnerships with other creative and cultural venues in Johannesburg, both onsite and online. The aim of positioning the conference as a moving, blended conference is to embrace the practice of mapping people, spaces and cultures that are located in the various places and venues. This opens the conference up to an embodied practice of wandering that does not confine and lock cultural, creative and pedagogical exchanges to one space.