February 18, 2021

JOMBA! 2021 Masihambisane Dialogues – Call for Abstracts, Papers and Digital Participation

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts and the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival will launch its first inaugural 3-day dance colloquium/conference in 2021 from 2 to 4 June 2021.


This dialogues series’ called the “Jomba! Masihambisane Dialogues” aims to support focused South African and African (and Diaspora) dance and performance scholarship in an accessible and community driven manner. The idea is to host a “Jomba! Masihambisane Dialogues” each year with a focus on new ways of engaging dance/performance scholarship, practice, and practice led research in innovative, provocative and interesting ways. While there is some measure of ‘conference’ about it, the idea is to imagine new and innovative ways of sharing knowledge that helps support a community of African (and African Diaspora) scholars and practitioners.


We also welcome support in this endeavour from key partners in India, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The CCA and JOMBA! will host, manage and run this annual colloquium/dialogues, but it has an international community of dance/performance scholars to sit on the steering and editorial committee who will work annually to imagine fresh and innovative ideas for delivery and for access to content each year.


The 2021 committee comprises Mr. David Thatanelo April – University of Pretoria (SA), Ms. Clare Craighead – Durban University of Technology (SA), Mr. Gift Marovatsanga – University of Zululand (SA), Dr. Lliane Loots – University of KwaZulu-Natal CCA (SA) [chair and organiser], Dr. Sarahleigh Castelyn – University of East London (UK), Ms. Thobile Maphanga – Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN – SA) [postgraduate student representative and colloquium administrator] and Dr. Yvette Hutchison – Warwick University (UK).


With COVID and the digital move to offer dance (and dance festivals) via on-line platforms and digital spaces, one of the results has been an upsurge of deeply intimate dance and screen dance work. This colloquium will take as provocation the (revised) words of Mexican poet and scholar Luis Vicente de Aguinaga that “even though every kind of politics needs a public square to exist, the politics of [dance] takes place in an intimate square.


“The colloquium aims to explore/interrogate how political, economic, social, cultural and technological forces are (re)shaping the meanings of intimacy in dance making in Africa (and the African Diaspora) in the recent wake of COVID-19,” says Dr Lliane Loots. “And it will explore past and present African/African Diaspora histories of dance and performance practice that has set up shifted boundaries around ‘intimacy’ whether this has been through re-imagined performance spaces, audience engagements, choreographic process and delivery, and the actual narratives of the performance.”


The 2021 version of the Dialogues (colloquium) will be offered on-line/digitally and in livestream.


The colloquium will facilitate keynote speakers, live and digital performance making of the keynote artist-scholars as points of discussion, debate and analysis, a focused on-line workshop/panel and a number of short, selected papers/digital submissions.


The CCA calls for the submission of short abstracts/proposals for consideration for inclusion in the 2021 “Jomba! Masihambisane Dialogues”.


All the details about the colloquium and submission process can be found on the JOMBA! website.


Deadline for submissions is 20 March 2021.


For queries, should the website not have answered these queries, email Dr Lliane Loots at: lootsl@ukzn.ac.za

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