Who we are

The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) is an interdisciplinary institute based in the University of Cape Town’s Humanities Faculty, formerly known as the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA). Since 2008, the Institute has fostered innovative practice and research in the creative and performing arts that works across the disciplines of music, dance, fine art, drama, literature and film, with a particular focus on black practitioners and issues that affect black South Africans. 

The ICA’s main aim is to foster innovative practice and research in the creative and performing arts. The focus on interdisciplinarity emerges from this vision for innovative research and practice. UCT has very strong disciplines, for instance in Fine Art and Drama. The ICA supports these disciplines, and pioneers research and artistic practices that blur disciplinary boundaries.

A key premise of the ICA’s work is that interdisciplinary practice in South Africa, and live art in particular, help us to understand the complexity of our contemporary society – one that is chronologically 'post' apartheid, but that continues to grapple with material redress, land redistribution and systemic racism.

ICA Director, Jay Pather, is a choreographer, curator and academic, and professor at the University of Cape Town. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Dance Theatre at New York University and since then his work has travelled widely, both locally and internationally. Recent productions include Qaphela Caesarrite, Firebird, and Nadia Davids’s What Remains for which he was awarded the 2018 Fleur du Cap for Best Director. Recent publications include articles in Rogue UrbanismPerforming Cities, and Where Strangers Meet, and a book which he co-edited with Catherine Boulle, Acts of Transgression: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa.

Ntshadi Mofokeng is the ICA's Project Coordinator

Buntu Tyali is the ICA's Technical Manager

Catherine Boulle is the ICA's Researcher, and producer & editor of The ICA Podcast.

Nolutando (Ethel) Ntlahla is the ICA's Administrator


What we do

The ICA's MA and PhD Programme in Live Art, Interdisciplinary and Public Art is open to choreographers, visual artists, performers, directors, composers, curators as well as creative and performing arts researchers. The Institute offers scholarships to pursue this study. Scholarships are awarded primarily to black womxn researchers.

The ICA hosts a range of Interdisciplinary Symposia and Conferences which focus on Interdisciplinarity, Decoloniality and Art Education.

Our Live Art Programme entails initiating new research on live art in South Africa, and staging live art performances that emerge from experimentation, sustained research and innovative concepts. The ICA’s Live Art Festival, run every two years, is the best known feature of this programme.

Our Public Art Programme brings together research and artistic practice in public spaces, taking the work of artists and academics to a range of communities.

The ICA's Public Lecture Series (including the Great Texts/Big Questions lecture series) offers practitioners, academics, students and the public an opportunity to interrogate bodies of work that are of interest to the public, and issues of critical concern.