Festivalisation in focus – Gideon Morison successfully defended his PhD thesis on postcolonial Pan-African festivals (1977-2019)

We are pleased to announce that Gideon Morison, PhD student of the ERC project Developing Theatre, successfully defended his thesis this week.

In his doctoral dissertation, From Renaissance to Festivalisation. Festival Networks and Institutional Legacies of Selected Pan-African Cultural Productions, 1977-2019Nigerian-born Gideon Morison examined Pan-African postcolonial festivals as venues and crystallizations of various cultural projects initiated roughly since the mid-20th century to promote the “cultural renaissance of Africa” worldwide. 

There are three festivals in particular to which Gideon I. Morison gives in-depth consideration in his work: the First World Festival of Negro-Arts (Dakar, 1966), the Pan-African Cultural Festival, Algiers (1969), and the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in Lagos, 1977. Framed in specific themes and with clear objectives, these events aimed, as Gideon Morison argues, “to reclaim or decolonize the trajectory of intellectual discourses on black/African identity and heritage while also building institutions for promoting postcolonial visions for cultural, political and socio-economic development and progress not only in the continent but across black communities in the diaspora”.

The project has been supervised by Christopher B. Balme and Nic Leonhardt. We congratulate Gideon on his successful graduation and wish him all the best for his future endeavors!


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