3rd Space Symposium: Decolonising Art Institutions

25 Jul 2017 - 17:30

24-26 August, 3rd Space Symposium: Decolonising Art Institutions

The second Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) 3rd Space Symposium: Decolonising Art Institutions, will take place at the University of Cape Town’s Hiddingh Campus and at the new A4 Arts Foundation space in Buitenkant Street from 24 to 26 August 2017.

Over a period of two days, academics, performers, curators, musicians, choreographers and playwrights – including key role players such as Hlonipha Mokoena, Elelwani Ramugondo, Jyoti Mistry and David Andrew, and artists such as Nomcebisi Moyikwa and Rehane Abrahams – will explore themes concerning the representation of artistic and creative research in museums, art schools and art institutions. Ideas pertaining to history and heritage, language, hybridity, creative economies and curricula will be explored through presentation, discussion and performance.

The horizontal, dialogue-driven format of the Symposium will encourage individual and collective participation, including group discussions and workshop interactions. The Symposium’s third day will provide spaces for interaction, discussion, and disciplinary and interdisciplinary conversation with input from a range of institutions and departments across the country.

Rehane Abrahams in Womb of Fire, to be performed at the 3rd Space Symposium.As an interdisciplinary platform, this Symposium then explores ideas around the role of the creative arts in provoking change, the imperative to decolonise the university, and the dialectic between the settled nature of academic curricula and the spontaneity of transformation. The Symposium facilitates a critical platform for probing the potential of the university curriculum to respond to the fluidity of transformation. It seeks to create enabling contexts for students, academics, artists and the public to engage as a creative community, to grapple with legacies of violence and exclusion, and to envision possibilities for alternative futures.

Artist and performer Nomcebisi MoyikwaThe Symposium originally drew its premise from from Homi K. Bhabha’s notion of a hybrid “third space” that “displaces the histories that constitute it, and sets up new structures of authority, new political initiatives, which are inadequately understood through received wisdom”. By the end of the first symposium last year even this notion was rendered unstable.

The 2017 event is a collaboration between three institutions: Zürcher Hochschule der Kunste (ZHdK), the University of Cape Town – Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) and Michaelis Galleries, and the University of Witwatersrand's Wits School of Arts (WSOA).  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. 

Unathi Kondile, editor of I'solezwe lesiXhosaRegistration for the event is free of charge but with limited spaces available. A detailed programme will be published on and distributed via email by 4 August 2017. To subscribe or to register, email or call 021 650 7156.

For more information, email