Conference Committee Members
Dr Lepere, Refiloe (Tshwane University of Technology)
Refiloe Lepere is a black feminist playwright, theatre director, drama therapist, journalist, and facilitator. Her areas of specialisation are participatory art, postcolonial and feminist theories in performance studies, and artistic activism. Refiloe is a versatile director, equally at home staging new plays and experimental texts. A two-time Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards Nominee, winner of the Martin Luther King Oratory Award and named in the Top 100 South African Influencers by Independent Media in 2016. She is also a Ford Foundation Fellow and Think Fellow (Funded by Andrew Mellon Foundation).
Refiloe has over a decade of experience as a director working locally and internationally; her productions have been seen on stages throughout South Africa, as well as in Botswana, Germany, UK, USA, Canada, and Swaziland. She has staged over 30 theatre productions since her debut in 2005. She has served as a resident Dramaturge at the South African State Theatre from 2015. Her international plays include Between Sisters, Postcards: Bodily Preserves (Germany, SA & USA), Money for shoes (Botswana, SA) Heading Out (US & UK); Songs for Khwezi (US & SA). She counts among her many credits; Disappearing Act performed at Provincetown
Theatre, NY. She has also directed and co-wrote; Black in the Box performed on Off Broadways, Theatre Row, in New York, and it also travelled to New Haven and Montréal, Canada. She is currently a guest editor on Drama Therapy Review-Journal special issue titled: Breathing Beyond Borders: Racial justice and decolonial healing practices. She is an author in numerous anthologies. Refiloe's work pushes boundaries as she explores techniques not just confined to the stage; this has taken her into other creative mediums. She has written and directed radio dramas, which include Ria’s World (2015), Disappearances (2017) and By Chance (2016).
She has facilitated SADC collaborative radio drama workshops for AfriQueer in Gaborone Botswana. The workshop produced a radio drama; Disappearances (2017) that has been aired in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. She currently lectures at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. Her work creates interconnections between race and feminist theory, social justice and theatre making practices. She travels around the world hosting masterclasses on stories as a social.
Prof Christopher Odhiambo (Moi University -Kenya)
Professor of Literature and Applied Drama/Theatre at Moi University’s Department of Literature, Theatre and Film Studies. Dean School of Graduate Studies and National Chairman, Kenya National Drama and Film Festival Committee. He is an arts adjudicator and facilitator. Has written and directed plays. Has published widely in the fields of Literature, Applied Drama/Theatre, Popular Culture and Film. Has presented papers and keynote addresses on various topics in Literature, Theatre and Popular Culture in conferences and Seminars.
In 2007 was awarded a two-year Melon Research Fellowship at Wits University at the Department of African Literature and Dramatic Art Division. In 2013 was awarded Wits University’s SPARC Distinguished Scholar Award and is also Alexander van Humboldt Senior Research Fellow. Here are sampled publications: Volume Editor with Christine Matzke, Lena van der Hoven and Hilde Roos, African Theatre 19; Opera & Music Theatre (2020); Guest Editor Ricarda de Haas, Marie-Anne Kohl and Samuel Ndogo.”Power to the People?”—Patronage, Intervention and Transformation in African Performance Arts” Matatu 5,1 Journal for African, Culture and Society, (2019); Orientations of Drama, Theatre and Culture. Opiyo Mumma, Evan Mwangi and Christopher Odhiambo, Eds. Nairobi: KDEA (1998); Theatre for Development in Kenya: In Search of Appropriate Procedure and Methodology; ‘In Search of New Performance Spaces: Theatre Practitioners and FM Radio Stations in Kenya” in Ed. Kene Igweonu and Osita Okegbue.
Performative Inter-Actions in African Theatre3: Making Space, Rethinking Drama and Theatre in Africa, “Ambiguities and Paradoxes: Framing Northern Intervention in the Constant Gardener in Hollywood’s Africa After 1994; “Intervention theatre traditions in East Africa and the paradox of patronage”. In East African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes; “From Diffusion to Dialogic Space: FM Radio in Kenya” in Radio Publics and Communities in Africa: Shared Pasts, Shared Futures; In Between of Activism and Education: Intervention Theatre in Kenya” in Ed. Hazel Barnes, Arts, Activism and Therapies: Transforming Communities in Africa. Matatu: Journal for African Culture and Society (No.44).; “Memory, Expiation and Healing in Bole Butake’s Family Saga. Co-authored with Naomi Nkaleah. The English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies.
Dr Cornelius Ssemakalu (Vaal University of Technology)
Ssemakalu a senior lecturer and researcher. As a senior lecturer, I am driven to design and develop new and exciting programs and modify existing curricula to meet the needs of students. I am passionate about helping students obtain the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a fast-paced setting. As a researcher, I am motivated by the need to solve problems empirically as well as share knowledge trough publishing and interviews. I have recently co-established the cell biology research unit, where I head the following platforms: (1) Bio-tissue regeneration with a kin focus on skin tissue repair, (2) Immunology with a focus on vaccine development and discovery of immune-modulatory molecules and (3) Cancer drug discovery focusing on the validation of unique plants used by the local communities to treat cancer. I believe that that without art, science as we know it would never exist.
Ms Molemo Moiloa (Andani.Africa)
Moiloa lives and works in Johannesburg and has worked in various capacities at the intersection of creative practice and community organizing. Molemo’s academic work has focused on the political subjectivities of South African youth. She is one half of the artist collaborative MADEYOULOOK, who explore everyday popular imaginaries and their modalities for knowledge production. She currently leads research at Andani.Africa, with a focus on open restitution debates and is one of the inaugural AfricaNoFilter Fellows 2020/2021 for this subject.
She also works with Arts Collaboratory, the Market Photo Workshop, and the Joburg Contemporary Art Foundation among others. Molemo has both a BA Fine Arts (cum laude) and MA Social Anthropology (cum laude) degree from Wits. MADEYOULOOK was nominated for the Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics 2016/17 at the New School, New York. Molemo was also a Chevening Clore Fellow 2016/17, and winner of a Vita Basadi Award for 2017.
Prof Desiree Smal (University of Johannesburg)
Prof Smal is the Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg, and an associate professor in the Department of Fashion Design. Her focus area of research and teaching is environmental sustainability in the discipline of fashion design. Additionally, she teaches design praxis, related design theory, and supervises postgraduate studies in the faculty.
Dr Anthony Ambala (University of Johannesburg)
Dr Ambala is a Senior Lecturer and head of the Multimedia department at Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. His current research interests are in participatory, interactive, and immersive media from an Afro-diasporic lens, focusing on marginalized, co-opted and ‘othered’ communities, and working within film, digital, gamified and virtual reality spaces.
Mr Hamish Neill (University of Witwatersrand)
Hamish Mabala Neill is a lecturer, Applied Theatre practitioner, creative researcher, performer, and director of the Drama for Life Creative Research Hub. Having completed an MA with distinction in Applied Drama with Drama for Life (Wits University), Hamish has applied his skill as a creative and critical force in theatre, community, and lecture spaces alike. At Drama for Life, Hamish's main research focus is to craft contemporary applied theatre pieces for youth that address issues of health and wellness in relation to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
In his personal artistic capacity, alongside work done in mainstream and industrial theatre scenes, Hamish has developed a unique skill for creating and enlivening performance spaces and performance in spaces. A large part of Hamish’s broad artistic scope is to intentionally (and carefully) craft performances that challenge culturally loaded notions of ‘toxic masculinity’ through deeply embodied performance and facilitated reflection.
Prof Jen Snowball (Rhodes University)
Jen Snowball is a professor of Economics at Rhodes University, South Africa. She is also the Chief Research Strategist at the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO). Her research interests are focused mainly in the fields of cultural economics and environmental economics.
Her research work in cultural economics has included developing and testing a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of publicly funded arts and culture, cultural mapping studies, employment in the cultural and creative industries, and international trade in cultural goods and services in emerging markets. She has published widely in the economics of arts and culture and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Cultural Economics, the journal managed by the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI).
Rhodes University is a public research university located in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is one of the oldest universities in the country and is noted for its research excellence.
The South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) is a national research organisation funded by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. It is hosted by the Nelson Mandela University, with partner universities (Rhodes University, University of Fort Hare, University of The mandate of SACO is to provide up-to-date, policy and industry-relevant data on the cultural and creative industries in South Africa.