Based in the Humanities Faculty at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) was established in 2008 with a generous fixed-period grant from the Donald Gordon Foundation. GIPCA was established with the aim of facilitating new collaborative research projects, particularly in the Creative and Performing Arts, and with Interdisciplinarity, Live Art and Public Spheres as the Institute’s key themes.
GIPCA’s contract with the Gordon Foundation came to an end in December 2014. The Institute will now continue its work as a result of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and under a new name – the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA).
Cognisant of South Africa’s legacy of separation and cultural isolation, the ICA seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary research projects in the creative and performing arts that disrupt boundaries, while underscoring creative education and practice across discipline and faculty. Under this new name, the Institute will continue its work but with an extended and ever-diversifying programme. The development of GIPCA into the ICA takes place through six major projects geared towards innovative research in the creative arts. These are outlined in brief below.
1. Postgraduate Programme
The ICA’s MA and PhD Programme in Live Art, Interdisciplinary Art and Public Spheres, launched in February 2016, is intended for a wide range of artistic practitioners. Through the integration of creativity and research, the ICA offers students the opportunity to pursue research across disciplinary boundaries. The ICA also offers scholarships to enable promising applicants to enroll in the programme.
2. The 2016 and 2018 Live Art Festival & Symposium
The biennial Live Art Festival (LAF) – which has its beginnings in the Institute’s successfully-run LAFs of 2012 and 2014 – is a trailblazer in Africa as one of only a few festivals on the continent dedicated to live art. The 2016 and 2018 Festivals will again showcase the innovative artworks, both in content and form, of emerging and established performance artists.
3. Anthology of writing on contemporary South African performance art
The ICA is in the early stages of producing a pioneering anthology of writing on contemporary South African performance art, to be published in early 2017.
4. Public lecture series
Great Texts/Big Questions lecture series: Great Texts/Big Questions, originally conceptualised by Imraan Coovadia, is a public lecture series that engenders an exchange of ideas and opinion, structured around a specific piece of work that is of interest or importance to the public. It offers the public and UCT staff and students opportunities to engage with a diverse range of prominent speakers.
Medical Humanities lecture series: Presented in association with UCT’s School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, this lecture series speaks to the growing interdisciplinary field of medical humanities, in pursuit of intellectual synergies and their application to medical pedagogy and practice.
The ICA’s fellowships provide artists and academics with time on the University’s campus and access to UCT’s facilities, the opportunity to engage extensively with UCT’s research community, and interaction with the ICA’s Live Art, Interdisciplinary and Public Art postgraduate cohort. These fellowships both enhance the professional development of fellows by affording them the time and resources to delve into a specific area of their work, and allow the ICA’s postgraduate cohort the opportunity to engage with, and be mentored by, outstanding artists, curators and researchers. National, International, Curatorial and Live Art Fellowships are available.
6. Interdisciplinary events and public spheres
The ICA will continue to host unique interdisciplinary projects including colloquiums, performances, exhibitions, and film screenings. Upcoming events include The Third Space Symposium – which will explore the imperative to decolonise curriculum, and the role of the creative arts in provoking change. Other events include a collaboration with the Africa Centre in its Infecting The City programme, and collaborations with the Iziko Museums of South Africa for June 16, Women’s Day and Heritage Week.