Programme announced for 3rd Space Symposium: Decolonising Art Institutions

18 Aug 2017
18 Aug 2017

The programme for the 3rd Space Symposium: Decolonising Art Institutions is now available. The two-and-a-half-day event will include keynote speakers Hlonipha Mokoena and Desiree Lewis, respondents Zimitri Erasmus and Lwazi Lushaba, speakers Jyoti Mistry, Zen Mari and David Andrew from Johannesburg and Adam Haupt, Khwezi Mkhize and Mandla Mbothwe (Cape Town). The programme also includes performances by artists Nomcebisi Moyikwa, Rehane Abrahams, Memory Biwa (Namibia) and Robert Machiri (Zimbabwe). The programme is available for download HERE or from

Steering the discussions off-campus, this interdisicplinary symposium takes place at the new A4 Studios on Buitenkant Street. Exhibitions and performances will be held at UCT’s Hiddingh Hall Campus with a shuttle provided between the two spaces.  Although the line-up of speakers, exhibitions and performances is meant to inform, provoke and inspire, discussion and interaction in small and large groups are strong features of this Symposium. Time has been allocated for round table discussions that follow Panels, as well as an especially designed interactive workshop led by Warren Nebe and members of WITS University’s Drama for Life around themes of the Symposium.

Professor Desiree Williams will open proceedings with a keynote titled Cultural Studies in South Africa: In Search of a Third Space. Lewis, a professor in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape has written extensively about the politics of feminism, sexuality and race, South African literature, and popular and visual culture in South Africa. A second keynote will be delivered by Hlonipha Mokoena associate professor and researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at Wits University. Mokoena’s keynote is titled Headspace / Heartspace: Art and the Archives. A performance of the highly acclaimed Womb of Fire by Cape Town artist Rehane Abrahams will close the evening. Ashleigh Dean writing for Cue called Abrahams performance at the National Arts Festival ‘poignant’.  She wrote ‘There is no better performer to encapsulate this than Abrahams – the precision of her movements and the authority of her voice combine to envelope the audience in a display of powerful femininity.’

Other exhibitions and performances included in the programme are the South African première of a multimedia installation by Jyoti Mistry, When I grow up I want to be a black man, and the Cape Town première of a new work by Nomcebisi Moyikwa, Qash-Qash, both on Friday evening. Young director Nwabisa Plaatjie presents her reimagining of The Native Who Caused All The Trouble by Keogh, Haysom and Cooke on Saturday. Plaatjie’s adaptation of the work, first performed at the Market Theatre in 1983, engages with land not only as physical landscape but also as something embodied and gendered. The Mail and Guardian’s, Faye Kabali-Kagwa wrote: ‘The triumph of Plaatjie’s adaptation is in the assertion that the experience of the land must be one that is lived, one that has memory, one that is felt.’ Also on Saturday musicians Memory Biwa and Robert Machiri perform through an experimental platform, “Pungwe Nights”, to track and reimagine transnational sonic cultures in southern Africa. They “re(hear)se historical and contemporary recordings between Namibia and Zimbabwe on a reel-to-reel player, turntables and computer”. Drama for Life will also present a series of Performances and Interventions.

Other voices to be heard at the event are those of Berni Searle, Mark Fleishman, Brian Kamanzi, Rike Sitas, Umhlangano,, Unathi Kondile, Lisa Wilson, Maxwell Rani, Rebekka Sandmeier, Sandile Ndelu, Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk and Veronica Baxter.

The 2017 event is a collaboration between three institutions: The University of Cape Town’s Institute for Creative Arts and Michaelis Galleries, the University of Witwatersrand's Wits School of Arts and the Zürcher Hochschule der Kunste. The project is supported by an ANT Funding Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and grants from the British Council, the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the National Arts Council. 

The Symposium will take place at the new A4 Arts Foundation space, located at 23 Buitenkant Street and on UCT’s Hiddingh Campus from 24 to 26 August 2017.

Registration for the event is free of charge but spaces are limited.

To register, email  For more information, email