Full Call for Abstracts, Papers and digital Participation

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts and the




2 – 4 June 2021








The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts and the JOMBA! Festival will be launching its first inaugural 3-day dance colloquium/conference in 2021; 2 – 4 June 2021. This dialogues series’ overall title is the “JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE DIALOGUES” and aims to support focused South African and African (and Diaspora) dance and performance scholarship in an accessible and community driven manner. The idea is to host a “JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE DIALOGUES” each year with a focus on new ways of engaging dance/performance scholarship, practice, and practice led research in innovative, provocative and interesting ways. While there is some measure of ‘conference’ about it, the idea is to imagine new and innovative ways of sharing knowledge that helps support a community of African (and African Diaspora) scholars and practitioners. We also welcome support in this endeavour from key partners in India, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The CCA and JOMBA! will host, manage and run this annual colloquium/dialogues, but it has an international community of dance/performance scholars to sit on the steering and editorial committee who will work annually to imagine fresh and innovative ideas for delivery and for access to content each year.  


The 2021 committee is:


  1. Mr. David Thatanelo April – University of Pretoria (SA)
  2. Ms. Clare Craighead – Durban University of Technology (SA)
  3. Mr. Gift Marovatsanga – University of Zululand (SA)
  4. Dr. Lliane Loots – University of KwaZulu-Natal CCA (SA) [chair and organiser]
  5. Dr. Sarahleigh Castelyn – University of East London (UK)
  6. Ms. Thobile Maphanga – Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN – SA)

[postgraduate student representative and colloquium administrator]

  1. Dr. Yvette Hutchison – Warwick University (UK)







The choreographed politics of intimacies”


With COVID and the digital move to offer dance (and dance festivals) via on-line platforms and digital spaces, one of the results has been an upsurge of deeply intimate dance and screen dance work. This colloquium will take as provocation the (revised) words of Mexican poet and scholar Luis Vicente de Aguinaga that “even though every kind of politics needs a public square to exist, the politics of [dance] takes place in an intimate square”.  The seeming collapse of public and private, and the mostly private homebound consumption of dance in digital spaces, makes an interesting and significant terrain to interrogate (amongst other factors like race and gender), Africa’s digital divides and what it means for African dance makers to engage the ‘politics of intimacy’ within digital dance spaces. The colloquium thus seeks to engage/unpack/interrogate the ‘intimacies’ of new ways of imaging/consuming/producing the creation of dance work for digital spaces that also – ironically and concurrently – have global reach. As this year’s various lockdowns have focussed people in domestic spaces, it has further highlighted the rise of gender-based violence, and a corresponding ongoing need to understand that the ways in which private spaces (the intimacies of ‘home’) consistently remain a battle ground for many women (and women artists) and young people.


The colloquium thus aims to explore/interrogate:

a.      how political, economic, social, cultural and technological forces are (re)shaping the meanings of intimacy in dance making in Africa (and the African Diaspora) in the recent wake of COVID-19, and; 

b.     past and present African/African Diaspora histories of dance and performance practice that has set up shifted boundaries around ‘intimacy’ whether this has been through re-imagined performance spaces, audience engagements, choreographic process and delivery, and the actual narratives of the performance.


The 2021 version of the DIALOGUES (colloquium) will be offered on-line/digitally and in livestream. In future years we will continue to imagine other innovative ways to host this 3-day event in a blended trans-national format.  


The colloquium will facilitate:


·      X3 invited keynote speakers who will present “IN DIALOGUE” a prepared/researched conversation with one of the editorial steering committee;

·      Showcasing the live and digital performance making of the keynote artist-scholars as points of discussion, debate and analysis on selected digital platforms;

·      X1 focused on-line workshop/panel (proposed theme for 2021:  “How we can create/ facilitate a sense of intimacy with audiences across the digital divide?”);

·      X15 selected papers/digital submissions in total (outside of the keynotes) – group into 5 slots of 3 papers each @ 10 -15mins each (each session will run to 70mins).


The final submissions of papers/digital offerings need to be maximum of x2500 words only (or equivalent if visual material), and delivery on-line is 15 minutes (max) only (for all mediums of delivery).  

We will generate a digital ‘conference proceedings/publication’ that will go through a rigorous editorial process via the editorial and steering committee.






We are calling for the submission of short abstracts/proposals for consideration for inclusion in the 2021 “JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE DIALOGUES”.


As part of this event’s ethos, we seek to open up the modes of contributions, and therefore we encourage the following formats:

·       The presentation of papers and new scholarship.

·       The presentation of digital scholarship and praxis led research.

·       Hybrid forms of presentation,

·       And any other unique formats that can be suggested for inclusion.

·       Unique ideas/proposals for panellist inclusion in our workshop discussion on “How we can create/ facilitate a sense of intimacy with audiences across the digital divide?”.




o   Abstract Length: no more than x450 words

o   Due Date: Friday 20 March 2021 (by 4pm)


Thobi Maphanga:  thobimaphanga@gmail.com

o   Details required:

1.     Name of author/s and/or artist-scholars.

2.     Short x200 word bio of author/s and/or presenter/s.

3.      Contact email address, and WhatsApp number of corresponding author.

4.     If appropriate, affiliation to any academic or artistic institutions


We especially encourage scholars/artists from Africa and the African Diaspora to participate.



For queries contact: Dr. Lliane Loots at: lootsl@ukzn.ac.za

Full Call for Abstracts, Papers and digital Participation