International cultural relations have historically been shaped by global inequalities in the
distribution of political, economic, military and cultural power. While those with economic,
political and military power may coerce others to fall in line, a few with media, education and
religious platforms are able to persuade many of their beliefs, values and worldviews.
Countries and practitioners in the global north in particular have been able to initiate and
support international cultural collaborations and relations under the banners of cultural
diplomacy, people-to-people relations and intercultural dialogue. (South Africa plays a similar
role in relation to many African countries).
With a lengthy period of international travel being restricted by COVID-19 lockdowns, how have
international cultural relations been impacted and reshaped, if at all? How could – or should –
we redo international cultural relations in the light of our recent experiences, if at all?
Jumana Al-Yasiri is a Paris-based, Damascus-born, multi-faceted arts manager and consultant. For the past 15 years+, she’s curated and produced residencies, festivals, and artists programs across disciplines and continents. As a regular writer, panelist and translator, her research and publications deal with artistic diasporas, postcolonial discourses in the arts, and the geopolitics of imagination.
Adel Abdelwahab is an Egyptian theatre director who has been working in the independent theatre scene and in cultural management since graduating in 2005. He is the director of the Theatre is a Must Forum, an Arab festival that stresses the role of theatre as an everyday necessity in any civilisation. Adel was chosen to participate in the Cultural Leadership International Programme by the British Council in 2011.
Neil Coppen is a South African playwright/theatre-maker who has won several major awards for his playwriting, acting, design and direction work. Seminal to Coppen’s theatrical work across a range of cultures and communities in South Africa, is a social-justice, theatre-making methodology titled Empatheatre which has been heralded for its unique approach in forging creative responses to complex social concerns while uniting a range of stakeholders. Coppen is busy with several new international collaborations, screenplays and a book about the life of Portuguese Poet Fernando Pessoa.
Gregory Vuyani Maqoma is the Artistic Director of Vuyani Dance Theatre which he founded in 1999, and the Chairperson of the Sustaining Theatre and Dance (STAND) Foundation. Maqoma is a multi-award-winning choreographer and has worked with numerous international artists such as Akram Khan, Faustin Linyekula, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Idriss Elba and William Kentridge. In 2017 Maqoma was honoured by the French Government with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Arts & Literature) Award. This year, Maqoma was invited by the International Theatre Institute in partnership with UNESCO to author the prestigious International Dance Day Message.
Daniel Smit is the Senior Policy Officer for Culture and the Media at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Pretoria. A Bachelor of Commerce Honours graduate from the University of Pretoria, Smit plays an influential role in facilitating cultural relations and artistic collaborations between the Netherlands and South Africa.
The webinar will take place on Zoom and will be broadcast through Sustaining Theatre and Dance Foundation’s Facebook page on Tuesday 8 December from 14:00-15:30 (Harare time).