The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) at the University of Cape Town is hosting the groundbreaking Emerging Modernities event, from 18 – 20 February 2011 on UCT’s Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town.

“Emerging Modernities is a creative platform where academia and the arts meet in an interactive way to explore current conceptual issues around contemporary identities and art,” says GIPCA Director Jay Pather. “The event is structured in a unique way, in that it combines performances, installations and exhibitions with panel discussions. We want to give attendees an opportunity to observe some of South Africa’s cutting edge artists in action, and then also reflect critically on the experience, with its conceptual implications, with a panel of experts,” said Pather.

The weekend long Emerging Modernities event opens with an address by the internationally renowned academic Achille Mbembe. Mwenya Kabwe, Mandla Mbothwe, Gavin Younge, Peter van Heerden, Andrew Putter, Usha Seejarim, Maxwell Rani Nandipha Mntambo, Brett Bailey, Magnet Theatre and Sello Pesa are some of the contributors who will be showcasing their work, combined with panel discussions facilitated around issues relating to performing and creative arts disciplines, as well panels that deal with language, the city, and notions of tradition and curriculum design. 

Panelists include academics and cultural theorists Crain Soudien (Deputy Vice Chancellor, UCT), Neo Lekgotla laga Ramoupi (Africa Institute of South Africa, Pretoria) Deborah Posel (Director: Institute for Humanities in Africa), Neo Muyanga and Ntone Edjabe (Pan African Space Station), Bettina Malcomess, Rael Salley, Gabi Ngcobo, Jane Taylor, Gerard Samuel, Colin Richards, Colin Richards, Mark Fleishman, composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, past contemporary art curator at the National Museum of Zimbabwe, Heeten Bhagat and Mokena Makeka, member of the World Economic Forum: Global Agenda Council on Design.

The topics addressed during the panel sessions will include “Emerging modernities and the contested curriculum in the post colony”, “Re-presenting the other, artistic collaboration and identity construction as process in the visual arts”, “Intercultural composition and Pan African re-emerging and merging in music”, and “Performance and the African city: multiple tongues; hybrid formations and translocations”.

In addition to sessions that critically reflect on existing bodies of work, the event hosts unique musical compositions featuring the Xhosa overtone singing of the Ngqoko  Women’s Ensemble with 13 instrumentalists conducted by Alexander Fokkens in works by Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, Christo Jankowitz and Kerryn Tracey. This is part of a research project on indigenous knowledge systems led by Anri Herbst and Zaidel- Rudolph.

The conference also hosts the première of Peter van Heerden and Anne Historical’s installation work Monument, which will take place at the Castle of Good Hope. Another site specific performance will be In House by Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre, featuring Gauteng based Sello Pesa, Humphrey Maleka and Brian Mtembu. The In House Project frees contemporary dance from its traditional venues and takes it to the heart of where people live: their suburbs, their living spaces. The project reveals the spaces between communities as well as between communities and art, and seeks to address outdated images, perceptions and ideas – be it of homes and spaces, or dance and art.

Die Vreemdeling by Magnet Theatre, directed by Mark Fleishman, is also on the programmeThe event includes an exhibition walkabout of In Context at the South African National Gallery, led by curator Liza Essers, director of the Goodman Gallery. Emerging Modernities  concludes with Sunday grooves by master DJ Ntone Edjabe.

Registration for Emerging Modernities is open to members of the public, and the fee for attending all the sessions and performances is R350. This includes all lunches and teas, the opening cocktail function and transport to the various installation performances throughout the city. A subsidised student registration is available at R70 (excludes lunches). UCT staff discounts also available – please enquire. The event opens on Friday evening 18 February, and ends on Sunday 20 February.

Bookings through Computicket ( The full programme is available from Please contact Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton on 021 480 7156 or for further information.

Full programme available for download.

Emerging Modernities audio recordings:

Achille Mbembe opening address audio recording

Panel 1: Emerging modernities and the contested curriculum in the post-colony audio recording

Panel 2: Post-colonial excursions and incursions audio recording

Panel 3: Re-presenting the other; artistic collaboration; identity construction as process in the visual art audio recording

Panel 4: Intercultural composition, classical and contemporary dialogue; Pan African re-emergings and merging in music audio recording

Panel 5: Performance and the African city: multiple tongues, hybrid formations and translocations audio recording

Emerging Modernities video recordings: 

Start: 18 Feb ’11

End: 20 Feb ’11


Organizer: GIPCA


Venue: Hiddingh Hall 

Phone: +27 21 480 7156 

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31-37 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, Cape Town, Western Cape, 8001, South Africa