PSi Conference for the first time in Africa

The Wits School of Arts in the Faculty of Humanities co-hosts the Performance Studies International (PSi) conference in Johannesburg from 2-5 August 2023.

The Theatre and Performance (TAP) and Drama for Life (DfL) departments in the Wits School of Arts (WSOA) host the multi-site conference in partnership with internationally acclaimed arts and research association, Performance Studies international (PSi).

Themed Uhambo Luyazilawula (‘embodied wandering practices’), the conference highlights practices of artists and scholars with indigenous and/or migrant roots in South Africa, and it places these practices and forms of research in dialogue and exchange with the work of artists and scholars in Africa and globally.

A first for Wits University and Africa, the conference will create opportunities for network development, collaborative research and artistic co-production between African countries, African universities, and African cultural sites/hubs, which will result in the development of new studies, performances, artworks, projects, and networks that will endure beyond the conference and continue the theme of journeying and mapping different spaces and cultures.

Supported by the fourth edition of the National Arts Council’s Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme, the conference takes place across six cultural sites in Johannesburg including The Wits Theatre Complex, the Centre for the Less Good Idea, Market Theatre, Soweto Theatre, Constitution Hill, and the University of Johannesburg. Keynote speakers and performances include Dr Mwenya Kabwe, Nondumiso Msimanga, James Ngcobo, and a keynote performance titled HOW: Showing the Making: Sibusiso Shozi. The programme also includes talks, workshops, installations, presentations, exhibitions, and performances of Isidlamlillo by the Empatheatre, Khongolose Khommanding Khommissars by Standard Bank’s Young Artist Award Winners the Theatre Duo, as well Mbuso Ndlovu’s Echoes of Heritage. Associate Professor René Smith, Head of the School of Arts, says: “The conference theme is a relevant and necessary provocation within global and local contexts where freedom of movement and other human rights, as well as democracy per se, are increasingly under threat. Mobility and journeying are universal and core to the human experience. Embodied wandering practices invites us to imagine a world of inclusion and interconnectedness. We are especially pleased that the organising committee for this
interdisciplinary conference includes creatives and emerging scholars from different disciplines in the Wits School of Arts.”

For further enquiries about the conference, please email Kamogelo Molobye or Boitumelo Tumy Motsoatsoe on or call Kamogelo Molobye at 0814463325.

About the Collaborators

Wits Theatre and Performance: The Theatre and Performance Department at the Wits School of Arts is an internationally recognized department in theatre and performance training that aims to produce graduates who are informed and critically aware practitioners. Its mission is to introduce a range of conceptual and creative vocabularies and practices to students as they pertain to interdisciplinary theatre and performance modes in South Africa. The department embraces students who enjoy intellectual adventure and the complex challenges and rewards posed by indigenous and globally established systems of knowledge and practice. The Theatre and Performance Department values creative practice and orthodox research within the arts that stimulate process-driven practices, collaboration, co-direction, co-publication, and shared ownership of intellectual property and space.

Drama For Life: Drama for Life is internationally recognized as the University of the Witwatersrand’s unique postgraduate academic, research, and community engagement department that brings together the disciplines of Applied Drama and Theatre, Performance Ethnography, Performance Studies, Arts Education, Drama Therapy, and Expressive Arts Therapies within the context of critical reflexive praxis.

The Drama for Life’s mission is to enhance dialogue for purposes of social transformation and healing through arts-based research, teaching and learning, and community engagement. We achieve this through critical reflexive and therapeutic arts approaches that relate to current social realities and the rich indigenous knowledge of Africa.

Performance Studies international: The Performance Studies international Association (PSi) is an association founded in 1997 that is dedicated to the communication and research exchange of interdisciplinary fields and approaches to scholarship and practices in performance and performance studies. The intention of the association is to bring together performance-minded people who are working in diverse fields, backgrounds, and contexts of theatre and performance, drama and dance, applied theatre practices, cultural studies, social sciences and more to connect and collaboratively engage in ways of sharing and investing in approaches to develop the field of performance studies.

Social Media Handles
Theatre and Performance –
Facebook: WSOA Department of Theatre and Performance
Instagram: wsoa_tap
Twitter: wsoaTAP
Drama for Life –
Facebook: Drama for Life
Instagram: dflwits
Twitter: Drama for Life
Performance Studies international
Facebook: Performance Studies international