African and Caribbean Performance Working Group
The African and Caribbean Performance Working Group (WG) brings together new and established scholars and practitioners with an interest in African performance on and outside the African continent and the Caribbean to inspire and share their research.
The WG’s mission is to provide the space to unearth innovative methodologies and further scholarly discourses on the study and practice of African and Caribbean performance worldwide and to foster networks and collaborations amongst scholars across the globe with an interest in this research area.
The African and Caribbean Theatre and Performance Working Group (WG) was founded in 2007, when the annual IFTR conference was hosted for the first time in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, with the aim to explore research concepts and practices from the African continent. Originally named the African Theatre and Performance Working Group, the WG was renamed in 2012 to fully acknowledge the transatlantic connections between Africa and the Caribbean. As performances themselves travel easily across borders, languages, and cultures, they are a manifestation of the rich, generative exchange and transformation that occur alongside processes of trade, war, travel, and migration. Today, the WG appreciates the mutual influences, shared histories and connections between African performance on the continent, and African performance in its diaspora worldwide. This shift recognises the historical high mobility of African peoples and cultures worldwide.
Our members contribute a broad range of international perspectives to our WG’s sessions. We encourage experienced and new scholars and practitioners to join. Please reach out to the co-convenors if you would like to become a member of this group.
Awo Mana Asiedu - Ghana – email@example.com
Aldith Gauci – The Gambia – firstname.lastname@example.org
· Increase membership of African, Caribbean and Africanist participants in IFTR.
· Encourage invigorating scholarly discourse on African and Caribbean performance.
· Publish cutting edge research on African and Caribbean performance.
· Provide a space for new scholars on the continent and elsewhere interested in African and Caribbean performance to network and collaborate.
· Encourage intra-African research and performance collaborations.
· Encourage research and performance collaborations between scholars in and outside of Africa.
· Provide opportunities for mentoring new scholars.
Research Interests of the Working Group
· African Epistemologies. What are the unique theoretical and methodological epistemologies and challenges posed by the contexts and practices of global African communities?
· Exploring and challenging vocabularies and approaches to global African performance research and to critically appraise their dominant representations in international theatre discourse.
· Decolonising theory and scholarship. What are the intentions behind decolonising strategies? How can we use these discourses to explore global African histories, traditions, performances and voices? To what extent can decolonising scholarship unsettle current dominant views?
· Global Africa as a framework to understand the common histories and globally shared futures of the African continent and its worldwide diaspora.
· Ethics of engagement in research and practice.
· Embodied knowledges of traditional performance practices.
· Translation and adaptations.
Activities outside the IFTR Conferences will continue to support collaboration between scholars and practitioners to help us explore our interests and achieve our goals. We are currently planning several interventions that directly contribute to the WG’s goals.
· Increase membership by:
o improving our online presence and connecting with like-minded individuals, groups, and organisations.
o organise a symposium (in-person or online) between 2022 and 2023 IFTR annual conferences on the continent or the Caribbean.
o provide a space for new scholars on the continent and in the Caribbean and elsewhere interested in African and Caribbean performance to network and collaborate.
o strategising how to encourage attendance for the 2023 IFTR Conference in Ghana.
· Encourage and publish invigorating scholarly discourse on African and Caribbean performance by:
o holding internal online working group meetings outside of IFTR conferences to support members with ongoing research projects.
o support postgraduate and early career researchers and build up new scholars from Africa / global Africa through training opportunities. A doctoral training series/seminar is being developed (Nov 2021).
o find ways to negotiate the difficulties experienced by African theatre scholars in attending international conferences by liaising with attendees and conference organisers starting with 2022 IFTR in Reykjavik.
· Our next call for papers will be for the IFTR conference in Reykjavík, Iceland, 19 June to 24 June 2022.