KEYNOTE PANEL #3: “Institutional Archives: opportunities and limitations in the current digital turn”.

Dialogue facilitator and participant: Dr. Mbongeni Mtshali


Tammy Ballantyne

Jessica Denyschen

Cian McClelland


Mbongeni N Mtshali - Steering Committee

Mbongeni N. Mtshali is a multidisciplinary performance practitioner, educator and scholar. He holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. Mtshali works across a range of performance disciplines, including dance, animation and puppetry, live-art and site-specific performance installation among others. Recent professional recognitions include The Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award and the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards for his achievements in directing and performance-making. Mtshali’s primary research interests, which animate both his practical and theoretical enquiries, are in black queer/black femme performance in South Africa as well as Africa and its diaspora more broadly. He is particularly interested in how the unruly aesthetics of black queer/black femme performance challenge nationally sanctioned performance repertoires and the frameworks of African respectability, cultural intelligibility, and ethnonational belonging in which they are vested. He has more recently turned to thinking about queer genealogies of African decolonial world-making in the Caribbean, South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.  

Tammy Ballantyne - Keynote Panelist

Tammy Ballantyne is a UKZN and Rhodes University (M.A) graduate specialising on dance and physical performance. She was a performer and teacher and since 2002, has worked as an independent contractor, researcher, teacher, editor, arts activist, and freelance dance writer. She was part of the team which founded the Performing Arts Network of SA (PANSA) and was its National Coordinator for several years. In 2019, Tammy joined The Ar(t)chive (NPC) at the Wits School of Arts as a Research Associate.  She has worked with the likes of Adrienne Sichel, Sylvia ‘Magogo’ Glasser and Mike van Graan, among others, on notable book projects, marketing initiatives and training programmes. Key achievements in recent years include: acting as consultant editor for Sichel’s ground-breaking book: “Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance”; assisting in the publication and launch of Glasser’s “Tranceformations and Transformations, Southern African Rock Art and Contemporary Dance”; submitted a chapter on Dada Masilo for “Fifty Contemporary Choreographers, 3rd edition” (Routledge,  2020) and mentoring and editing young and emerging writers on innovative platforms like JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival’s dance writing residencies; a ground-breaking reviewing programme for My Body My Space Public Arts Festival, hosted  on Whatsapp and the ACT Warrior Wall heritage project in 2021.

Jessica Denyschen - Keynote Panelist

Jessica Denyschen is a queer writer, filmmaker and creative arts entrepreneur based in Johannesburg, South Africa currently serving as the Interim CEO for the Arts & Culture Trust. Denyschen has successfully produced several local and international artistic interventions and events and collaborated with leading South African choreographers, creating video installations for performances.. Denyschen collaboratively produced two groundbreaking dance books; with veteran dance writer, Adrienne Sichel and mother of Moving Into Dance Mophatong, Sylvia ‘Magogo’ Glasser respectively. In 2018 she released her debut poetry collection; The magic, the madness and the loss. In 2020 Denyschen launched QueerShorts, a short story writing project stimulating the creation of queer narratives in South Africa ( Denyschen is co-founder and Director of The Ar(t)chive NPC, a national dance archiving project based at WITS University as well as the owner and co-director of Phoenix and Owl Pty LTD, a local video production house. In 2015 Denyschen received an Honorary Act Impact Award for her contribution to dance in South Africa and in 2017, was awarded the highly respected: Humanities and Social Sciences Award (Department of Higher Education) for Creative Collections: Best Public Performance – Dance for BodyTech, on behalf of The Ar(t)chive.

Cian McClelland - Keynote Panelist

Cian McClelland has a lifelong passion for Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and African culture and heritage. He joined the Indlamu Cultural Association in 1984 to promote traditional music, dance and storytelling. Cian has trained with numerous IKS leaders since 1991 and is a registered Traditional Doctor. He was a founder member of African Cultural Heritage Trust (ACHT) in 1994, the annual Zindala Zombili African Music & Dance Festival, the Afrikaya Indigenous Archives and the South African Music Industry Council. Cian has 32 years of experience as a project manager, primarily in the live event, television and agricultural industries. He has produced and directed numerous local and international large-scale live events with a specific focus on indigenous cultural content for television productions and archive repositories. Cian is a founder member and lead implementer for the Intamoyenkunzi Primary Agricultural Co-op that is based near Isandlwana in KZN. The Co-op, established in 2012  with the KZN Dept. of Agriculture was a pilot food security programme for rural South Arica. Cian is currently CEO of Druids Holdings, a leading health & wellness group specialising in the cultivation and manufacture of traditional medicine from Africa and Asia with a specific emphasis on cannabis.