Workshop: Micropracticing decolonisation

Friday, 11 March 2016

University of Johannesburg
organised by
Sebastian Dieterich (visiting researcher from Zurich University of the Arts) & Claire Rousell (Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture)
FADA 102
2pm – 4pm 
STAND@FADA Ethics and Decolonisation Seminar Series
* Outside guests please RSVP by Thursday 10 March, 11am (
In South Africa the question of the decolonisation of knowledge is an urgent one. Within academia, a number of different bodies are calling for papers for conferences and publications on this and related themes. The aim of our work is to create an event that allows us to deepen our understanding of this question and to also find new ways of thinking and experimenting with it.
As Achille Mbembe argues in a recent paper referring to Fanon, decolonization is a question of self-appropriation and the creation of new forms of life. Our aim is to follow this line of thinking and experiment with the question of how decolonization as a collective process of creation and production can happen and what a process of re-appropriation could look like.
We are interested in relating rigorous conceptual work to more expressive approaches that involve participants on a more personal level. The power structures of colonization are embodied and therefore it is important for us to include the body as an essential medium of insight and knowledge production. Micropracticing decolonisation in this context means to find ways to experience the limitations and normative power of incorporated patterns, routines, ways of thinking and feeling and to become aware of how our everyday practices are actualising overall power structures.
Sebastian Dieterich works in the field of micropolitical engagement and artistic research; since 2012 he has focused on a project entitled “Micropractice. Forms of engagement and resistance” at the Institute for Critical Theory at the Zurich University of Fine Arts. His research is engaged in exploring new modes of existence in resistant everyday practices and is focusing on processes of doing and practicing together in emergent collectivities. Another main interest lies in the intersection of Philosophy and Biology. In a series of events and readings called “Biological Wisdom and Social Transformation“ he asks to what extent can we invent new social forms when turning to the deep wisdom and intelligence that lies in biological systems? Sebastian Dieterich is also part of the SensLab, a laboratory for thought in motion based in Montreal as well as the Artistic Research Circle of the Nordic Summer University, where he participates in a series of event-based, collectively self-organized projects.
Claire Rousell is an artist and researcher working across performance and anthropology. Her work is focused on the intersections of ritual, performance and social and environmental activism. Using dance, sculpture, installation and site-specific performance she explores how we might deconstruct the barriers within ourselves and society, making way for envisioning a life-sustaining society. She has participated in residencies, workshops and exhibitions at SU-EN Butoh in Sweden; Tanz Fabriek, Berlin; Findhorn Centre, Scotland amongst others. Claire has lectured in art, design, photography and theatre in England and South Africa and is currently based at the University of Johannesburg.
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