For the past six years Drama for Life has hosted and organised the DFL Africa Research Conference in conjunction with varied partners. Each conference has developed out of issues identified by delegates and in response to important developments, and debates within the field of Applied Drama and Theatre.
The Drama for Life (DFL) Africa Research Conference constitutes one of the foremost platforms for applied drama, drama therapy, arts education, research and practice on the African continent and aims to create an inter-continental and international dialogue about the significant role applied drama and theatre can play in social transformation. For the past five years Drama for Life has hosted and organised the international Africa Research Conference in conjunction with varied partners. Each conference has developed out of issues identified by delegates and in response to important developments, and debates within the fields of Applied Drama and Theatre, Drama Therapy and Drama in Education, particular but not exclusive to the African continent.
In 2012 the conference explored the role of applied drama and theatre interventions in conflict and post-conflict societies. in 2013 6th DFL Africa Research Conference ("The Unfinished Business of Truth and Reconciliation: Arts, Trauma and Healing") built on the conference theme of the year before in exploring the role of the arts in societies that have sought to engage in processes of truth and reconciliation, transition and change in post-conflict contexts. It sought to expand our knowledge and understanding of the arts as a vehicle for healing and transformation. It asked the questions: what role can the arts play in speaking back to the ‘unfinished business’ of societies that have committed themselves to significant change, and how can the arts contribute toward a deeper, more meaningful and long lasting process of healing within a context of trauma?
The conference is a place to dialogue, interrogate and share the exceptional work that is being done all over the continent. It is a unique conference as it actively engages in praxis, the intersection between theory and practice, calling upon its participants to think, theorise and question, to experience, express and engage with topics that speak to these urgent issues in contemporary societies.
The DFL Africa Research Conference has hosted attendees from more than 20 different African countries, as well as Australia, Canada, UK, and United States of America and is the flagship event of the DFL initiative.
- In what ways has performance, applied drama, drama therapy and arts education responded to processes of truth and reconciliation, transition and change?
- How has performance, applied drama, drama therapy and arts education reflected truth and reconciliation, transition, change and healing?
- How can applied drama be used as an effective pedagogy to address the reconstruction of historical narratives with regard to truth and reconciliation?
- What role can arts education play in addressing truth and reconciliation within formal and informal education settings?
- In what ways can applied drama be used as an effective conflict management strategy?
- How can the arts therapies effectively address the cycles of trauma emanating from the ‘unfinished business’ of truth and reconciliation processes?
- What role can indigenous cultural performances and rituals play in healing within a context of trauma?
- What role can ritual, ceremony and memorialisation play through the expressive arts therapies in addressing trauma emanating from conflict and post-conflict societies?
- Can the arts therapies find an integrated place within indigenous cultural and healing practices within the African context?
Spokespersons for the Drama for Life Africa Research Conference: projects manager Caryn Green on: Caryn.Green@wits.ac.za.