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!



A warm welcome to Gideon Ime Morison, new PhD student of our ERC Project „Developing Theatre“

We are very pleased to announce that Gideon Ime Morison joined the ERC Project „Developing Theatre: Building Expert Networks for Theatre in Emerging Countries after 1945“  in January, 2019. His PhD research will focus on expert networks, techno-politics and emergent performance trends in select Pan-African cultural and arts festivals focusing, particularly, on FESTAC ’77 and PANAFEST.

Gideon Ime Morison is a poet, academic, researcher, blogger, and theatre/cultural critic. He is an Alumnus of the Department of Theatre, Film and Carnival Studies, University of Calabar and the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Uyo, Nigeria.

Gideon Morison has tutored, partnered and consulted widely for individuals and bodies corporate. His research output, which straddle areas such as media / theatre theory, history and criticism, development communication and comparative cultural studies, has been published severally in the Nigerian Theatre Journal, Parnassus, and Bianchi Journal. He also lectures in the Department of Theatre Arts, School of Secondary Education (Arts and Social Sciences), Federal College of Education (Technical), Omoku, Rivers State – Nigeria.

Expert networks, techno-politics and emergent performance trends in select Pan-African cultural and arts festivals

Global historical happenings such as the Slave Trade, Colonization, World War II and the integration of oppositional voices or liberation movements against them are widely assumed to have had a profound influence / impact on the emergence, development and diversity of performance culture across the African continent. The philosophy and activism of movements like the slave trade abolitionist group, negritude, nationalist political organizations, as well as arts and cultural troupes / groups sponsored or funded from the diaspora seems to have created a network of collaborations with the goal of forging a renaissance in African identity as expressed / exhibited through various international cultural and arts festivals held in Africa from 1966 to 1977 and beyond. Gideon Morison’s research will focus on the critical examination of the global linkages, expert networks, and techno-politics that enabled the staging of these events. With particular emphasis on FESTAC ´77 and the emergent Pan-African Historical Festival (PANAFEST), this study assess the contributions and legacies of the festivals on the performance praxis in the post-colonial territories in which the festivals were and / or still staged. 

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