Mike Van Graan (ZA)

Innovative Leadership: Mirroring Society: Diversity on Stage

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Ignorance and fear, or rather fear rooted in ignorance, are the roots of many contemporary social conflicts. ‘We’ don’t know ‘them’; ‘they’ don’t know ‘us’, and so we ‘other’ each other, engaging in self-fulfilling prophecies based on stereotypes, mass media images, and mediated information that both creates and affirms our worldviews. The arts, and theatre in particular, are about disruption. They could be asserting cultural dominance, but in their best forms, they provoke, challenge, offer alternatives. This lecture will probe the possibilities of theatre in our contemporary world.

Mike van Graan is the President of the African Cultural Policy Network, serves as the interim secretariat of the Global South Arts and Culture Initiative, and is an award-winning playwright.

After South Africa’s first democratic elections, he was appointed as a Special Adviser to the minister responsible for arts and culture, playing an influential role in shaping post-apartheid cultural policies. He has served in leadership roles in anti-apartheid and post-apartheid cultural formations, as well as in Pan-African organisations like Arterial Network, promoting the creative sector and its contribution to human rights, democracy and development.

He is the 2018 recipient of the Sweden-based Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award in recognition of his contribution to the fight against apartheid, to building a post-apartheid society, and to the interface of peace and culture both in South Africa and across the African continent. He is currently based at the University of Pretoria on a six-month residency, to – among other things – write a play on the Sustainable Development Goals for students studying theatre.

About The Innovative Leadership Network (ILN)

“Artists as leaders of change”

ILN is a Nordic cross-disciplinary platform working towards enabling artists to become leaders, developing innovative methods for artistic research activities, as well as developing new ideas in relation to rethinking institutions, increasing audience engagement, investigating new presentation formats, tackling political & societal issues or working on sustainable practices… in order to challenge status quo.

The platform proposes fruitful exchanges between Nordic & European artists, researchers and creative workers from the performing arts field through networking events, lectures & thematic workshops, and open seminars that will take place in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway from April 2018 to October 2020. Regular online publications will feed the reflection and build cross-sectoral knowledge.

INL is one strand of an ambitious Artist’s Research Lab and Residency Programme developed by Dansehallerne and its partners.

Partners: IMMART, Warehouse9

Venue: WAREHOUSE9, Halmtorvet 11A, 1700 København V

Duration: 2 hours

15:30 - 17:30


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