Afems 2019

African Feminisms (Afems) 2019: Theorising from the Epicentres of our Agency
5-7 September 2019, Wits University, Johannesburg

Find conference website here:
https://afemsconference.wixsite.com/afems/afems-2019


Organised by the Department of Visual Arts, Wits University and the Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University

The third edition of the African Feminisms (Afems) conference occurred from the 5-7 September 2019 at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Literary Studies in English, Rhodes University.

The 2019 theme ws based on Nigerian Stiwanist Molara Ogundipe’s conversation in 2002 with South African black feminist Desiree Lewis in which Ogundipe states:
For me, social ideas should emerge from a consciousness that thinks of what is beneficial to a human being as a person, not because the ideas occurred or are practiced in Europe or America. We need to overcome our endemic inferiority complex towards Europe and things “white,” successfully implanted since our colonial education and through its curricula. We should think from our epicentres of agency, looking for what is meaningful, progressive and useful to us as Africans, as we enrich ourselves with forerunning ideas from all over the world including Europe and America. … I felt that as concerned African women we needed to focus on our areas of concern, socially and geographically. I am concerned with critical and social transformations of a positive nature in Africa, positive meaning, “being concerned with everything that maximises the quality of life of Africans and their potentials too”.

Keynote speakers: Patricia McFadden, Kharnita Mohamed, Lynda Gichanda Spencer and Sharlene Khan

Kharnita Mohamed lectures in Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. She is working on a PhD in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of the Western Cape.  She has a Masters in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Her research is focused on disability, race and gender towards developing a conceptual framework for a decolonial feminist disability studies. She was raised on the Cape Flats and is frequently confounded by the contradictions of inhabiting postapartheid South Africa. Her debut novel Called to Song was published by Kwela in 2018. 

Patricia McFadden is a Radical African Eco-feminist who aspires to a life of Freedom and Joy. She is vegan and produces most of her own organic food on a mountain in eastern Swaziland. Her most recent publications are ‘Women’s Freedoms are the Heart Beat of Africa’s future: a Sankarian Imperative’ in A Certain Amount of Madness, the life, politics and legacies of Thomas Sankara, 2018; ‘Contemporarity: sufficiency in a Radical African Feminist Life’, in the journal Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, 2018.

Lynda Gichanda Spencer is Associate Professor at the Department of Literary Studies in English at Rhodes University and is principal investigator of the UCAPI Research Group, concerned with African popular modes of representation and interpretation, and especially with the ways in which local specificities and global imaginaries are articulated through popular genres. It seeks to engage critically with various knowledge productions that are embedded in local cultural forms.

Sharlene Khan is a visual artist whose multi-media works focus on the socio-political realities of a post-apartheid society and the intersectionality of race-gender-class. She was a recipient of the Rockefeller Bellagio Visual Arts residency (2009), the Canon Collins/Commonwealth Scholarship (2011), the African Humanities Post-doctoral Fellowship (2017), the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Visual Arts (2018) and was runner-up winner in the Videokunst Preis Bremen video art award (2015).  She has published three books on her artwork: What I look like, What I feel like (2009),  I Make Art (2017) and When the moon waxes red…(2018). She is co-convenor of the annual African Feminisms (Afems) Conference; and runs the NRF-Thuthuka funded Art on our Mind Research Project; the bi-weekly Black Feminist Killjoy Reading Group and the Decolonial AestheSis Creative Lab. She holds a PhD (Arts) from Goldsmiths, University of London and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Fine Arts, Wits School of the Arts, Wits University, Johannesburg. 

Afems 2018

From 27-29 September 2018, Art on our Mind hosted the African Feminisms Conference (Afems), which featureed a retrospective of South African documentary filmmaker Shelley Barry, and the South African cuators’ conversation Curating as World-Making.

Find conference website here:
https://afemsconference.wixsite.com/afems/afems-2018

African Feminisms (Afems) Conference 2018

‘The Mute Always Speak’: (Re) imagining and re-imaging feminist futures

Hosted by Rhodes University Department of Literary Studies in English and Department of Fine Arts

Keynote Speakers: Dr Nthabiseng Motsemme, Dr Siphokazi Magadla, Prof Gabeba Baderoon, Ms Shelley Barry

Find more information here: afems2018.wixsite.com

Started in 2017, the African Feminisms Conference (Afems) is an annual African feminist-centred dialogue and creative expression space, encouraging intellectual engagement and social networking. Afems provides a collaborative research platform for students and established scholars in Fine Arts and Literary Studies in English through the lens of African feminism.

Follow on facebook.com/africanfeminisms and twitter @afems18

Curating as World-Making

Curating as World-Making panel (from left): Sharlene Khan, Nomusa Makhubu, Nontobeko Ntombela, Same Mdluli, Nkule Mabaso and Zodwa Skeyi-Tutani.

Art on our Mind creative dialogue:
Curating as World-Making

Sharlene Khan in conversation with curators Nkule Mabaso, Nomusa Makhubu, Same Mdluli, Nontobeko Ntombela, Zodwa Tutani on the possibilities and challenges in visual arts curation in South Africa (panelists’ biographies below). The discssuion took place in context of Afems 2018 conference ‘The Mute Always Speak’: (Re) imagining and re-imaging feminist futures on 28 September 2018.

VIDEO: Curating as World-Making panel discussion

AUDIO: Curating as World-Making panel discussion

TRANSCRIPT: Curating as World-Making panel discussion

Continue reading “Curating as World-Making”

Creative Theorisation Panel

Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites
of Praxis-Theory

Creative Theorisation Panel from left: Dr Betty Govinden, Prof Neelika Jayawardene, Dr Sharlene Khan, Dr Yvette Abrams, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola.

Art on our Mind panel discussion with Dr Sharlene Khan, Prof Pumla Dineo Gqola, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Prof Neelika Jayawardane and Dr Betty Govinden held as part of the the Colloquium ‘Six Mountains on her back’ (Re)reading African Feminisms at Rhodes University, 21-22 July 2017

An excerpt of the panel discussion was published by Dr Sharlene Khan in Agenda – Empowering women for gender equity 32:3, 2018 entitled: “Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theory” – A creative dialogue between Sharlene Khan, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Yvette Abrahams, Neelika Jayawardane and Betty Govinden. [pdf]

Find the biographies of the panelists below

Continue reading “Creative Theorisation Panel”

Afems 2017

Afems 2017

Six Mountains on her Back: (Re)Thinking African Feminisms

Keynote Speaker: Danai Mupotsa

Find conference website here:
https://afemsconference.wixsite.com/afems/afems-2017

In 2017, the first Afems Colloquium entitled Six Mountains on her Back: (Re)Thinking African Feminisms was held on the 21st and 22nd July 2017 as a collaboration between Finding Africa (Thando Njovane), the Rhodes University Department of Literary Studies in English (Dr Lynda Gichanda Spencer), and Fine Art (Dr Sharlene Khan and the Art on our Mind Research team). Although planned as just a one day symposium, the overwhelming number of presentation local and international applications required its development into a two day full colloquium. Twenty-nine papers were presented, and the colloquium was attended by over 100 people. The keynote was presented by Dr Danai Mupotsa on “Feminism is Sensational”.

The colloquium also hosted a two hour creative dialogue Thinking Through, Talking Back: Creative Theorisation as Sites of Praxis-Theoryhosted by Dr Sharlene Khan with Prof Pumla Gqola, Dr Yvette Abrahams, Dr Betty Govinden and Prof Neelika Jayawardane. Dr Sharlene Khan also launched her artist book I Make Art (2017), with a reading of poetry by Dr Betty Govinden and a performance by Siphokazi Jonas. The evening also featured the opening of the exhibition Being Here, Becoming Her curated by Refilwe Nkomo and Thato Mogotsi of the !Kauru Contemporary Collective (and co-curated by Ms Buhle Siwendu and Dr Sharlene Khan). The exhibition showcased African women artists from across the continent, staff and students from Rhodes University. The colloquium was videoed and all material made available online on Facebook. The project was funded by the National Research Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Rhodes University.