Performing the City: Youth, Popular Arts and Social Movements in Urban Africa Workshop

Location: Lagos (and part online)
Language: English

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Performing the City: Youth, Popular Arts and Social Movements in Urban Africa Workshop

This event is the ‘Youth on the Move: Performing Urban Space in the Global South’ Project’s African Workshop, part of the USF funded Seminar Series Award.

From Occupy Nigeria Movement in 2012 to #EndSARS Protest in 2020, Nigerian youth and their popular art practices are increasingly shaping the course of social and political events through performance, providing the participants with the language and actions necessary to renegotiate their place in society. Across the continent, popular performance arts are also constituting an essential means of knowledge production and forging a new sense of political and cultural identities among the youth. By constructing a repertoire of personal stories and local histories, these practices and movements centralize the body and the living realities as essential sites for decolonial politics, and they demand alternative frameworks for interpreting citizenship and publicness in Africa today.

The workshop aims to understand how popular art practitioners in the urban margins interrupt the institutional norms of pedagogical approaches and interrogate the hierarchies of knowledge production. Inspired by the approaches of the Bariga artists who navigate between the streets and the stages, we encourage in-depth dialogues and interactions between art practitioners and art scholars. In particular, we suggest a special off-campus session at different venues in Iwaya and Bariga, where youth artistic practices are generated and rooted in.

Performing the City: Youth, Popular Arts and Social Movements in Urban Africa Workshop

Part I Launch of Seminar Series ‘Youth on the Move’

Keynote Speech
June 20th, 10:00 am-11:00 am
Location: Room 14, Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Lagos

Keynote: Hip Hop, Afrobeats, and the Importance of Genre Classification
Msia Kibona Clark (Howard University)

Dr. Msia Kibona Clark is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of African Studies at Howard University. As a professor of cultural & feminist studies, she focuses on representations of Pan Africanism, African feminism, and African/Diaspora identities in popular culture. Her work examines hip-hop in Africa’s importance as social commentary, especially around Pan Africanism and African feminist thought. Her work also explores how Black mobilization is shifting African and Diaspora identities, and impacting Black activism. Her scholarship includes numerous articles and books, including Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City & Dustyfoot Philosophers, Pan African Spaces: Essays on Black Transnationalism, and African Women in Digital Spaces: Redefining Social Movements on the Continent and in the Diaspora (co-edited with Wunpini Fatimata Mohammed).

Part II. From “Our Area” to “Naija”

Traveling with Performance Artists in Lagos
Locations: Unilag, Iwaya and Bariga

Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

We invite Lagos-based dance and theatre troupes to collaborate with invited artists from Nairobi and Mumbai for a “performative tour” in Iwaya and Bariga, marginal communities near Unilag. The artists will take the conference participants along with them for a journey of “informal” artistic spaces in Lagos.

Please note that this session involves off-campus locations in Iwaya and Bariga (not far from Unilag). After watching the first performance on campus, audiences will take a danfo from MTN Library Foyer, Unilag, to Arowolo Street, Iwaya. Then we will stop at Arowolo Street in Iwaya for a second performance by Illuminatetheatre Productions and Iwaya teenagers. After that, we will head for Awofodo Street in Bariga, and watch another performance by Crown Troupe of Africa.

There will be a roundtable discussion at the Art Factory in Bariga. All are welcome to join us at The Art Factory (32 Awofodu Street, off Pedro Road, Bariga).

Stop 1: Unilag
Departing Time: 2:00 pm
Location: MTN Library Foyer
Title of Performance: ‘Afro Communal Offering’
Performered by: Ennovate Dance House

Stop 2: Iwaya
Departing Time: 3:00 pm
Location: 26 Arowolo Street Iwaya, outside the gate of Fazilomar senior high school
Title of Performance: ‘Youth on the Move’
Performed by IlluminateTheatre Productions and Iwaya Teenagers

Stop 3: Bariga
Departing Time: 3:30pm
Location: 32 Awofodu Street, off Pedro Road, Bariga
Title of Performances: ‘Progressive Express’ (outdoor) + ‘Iya Oja’ (indoor)
Performed by Crown Troupe of Africa

Part III

Street, Stage and Seminar: Performance Art as Knowledge Production
(Artists + Curators + Scholars Roundtable Discussion)
Time: 5:00PM – 6:00PM
Location: The Art Factory, Bariga (32 Awofodu Street, off Pedro Road, Bariga)

The roundtable gathers urban scholars, curators and young performance artists from Lagos, Nairobi, Mumbai, Beijing and Shanghai for an in-depth dialogue on the multi-layered, mobile ‘Southern urbanity’ and the role of performance art in it. We aim to collaboratively intervene in the theoretical debates around the following questions: how, why, and what are the multiple meanings of youth performing in African urban space; how do performance arts construct alternative ways knowledge production in urban Africa?

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"We are extremely happy with the final publications from this seminar series, and we are grateful to the USF for sponsoring the event which made this possible."

Doing Global Urban Research, Seminar Series

Urban Studies Foundation is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC039937.

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