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Rhodes strengthens scholarly activity in the visual and performing arts at African universities

Date Released: Fri, 4 August 2017 15:55 +0200

During the month of July, the Rhodes University Arts of Africa and Global Souths research programme in collaboration with the School of Fine Art at Makerere University organised and hosted the 2017 Publishing and Research of the South: Positioning Africa (PROSPA) Workshop in Uganda over four days.

PROSPA is a supra-national research programme that focuses on the production and positioning of knowledge on the African continent and in various global South contexts. The core goals are to increase and strengthen scholarly activity in the visual and performing arts at African universities and to raise the visibility of African based scholars on local and international platforms.

PROSPA includes a postgraduate research programme that aligns with the SARChI Chair in Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa housedat Rhodes University, as well as a pan-African publishing network (POWA), and a residency programme for artists and writers (RAW).

“The annual Publishing Workshops are linked to the Rhodes University editorial consortium partnership of the African Arts journal that is produced at the University of California. The first issue was launched in April this year, and it featured the work of eighteen Africa-based scholars and artists,” said Professor Ruth Simbao, SARChI Chair in Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa.

The inaugural publishing workshop that played a role in developing the first Rhodes journal issue was hosted by Rhodes University in 2016, and the 2018 Publishing Workshop will take place at the University of Ghana.

Producing our words in Africa Art (POWA) is a writing and publishing support network that brings together scholars in the arts across the African continent as a way of sharing and strengthening the production of knowledge, as well as raising the profiles of writers on local and international platforms. 

Participation is open to all Africa-based writers who engage with the visual and performing arts, regardless of institutional affiliation.

TheResidencies for Artists and Writers (RAW) programme was founded at Rhodes University in 2014 with support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, and now continues annually as part of the PROSPA programme.

Unique to the RAW residency is the possibility for a team, made up of an artist and a writer, to apply for a joint residency that explores the relationship between art production and writing.

“Priority is given to artists and scholarly writers based on the African continent or within the global South, in order to shift the tendency for artistic and cultural production based in the South to be theorised by writers based in the global North,” said Simbao.

The 2017 writer in residence is Dr Rose Namubiru Kirumira (Makerere University), and the artists in residence are Rehema Chachage (Dar es Salaam), Thania Petersen (Cape Town), Immy Mali (Kampala) and Stacey Gillian Abe (Kampala).

The PROSPA Publishing Workshops, the Art POWA Network and the RAW Residencies for Artists and Writers were founded by Professor Ruth Simbao at Rhodes University and are funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Application forms for joining the network can be found at www.ru.ac.za/artpowa.

Source:Communications