University academics collaborate to showcase South African creativity

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

University of Salford academics have come together to offer a glimpse of South African creativity today, which remains just as vibrant and radical as it was 100 years ago, when writers were producing and publishing pioneering literature in various forms and languages.

In February 2022, the team received a ‘Reignite Your Research’ grant from the University to create a short film associated with South African Modernism 1880-2020, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded research project led by Dr Jade Munslow Ong.

The grant has enabled Salford filmmakers Simon Stanton-Sharma and Maire Tracey to join colleagues; Dr Sanja Nivesjö, Dr Jade Munslow Ong and Dr Matthew Whittle (University of Kent) on location in Cape Town.

The film All That Is Buried captures interviews, readings, performances and artworks by musician Dizu Plaatjies, poet Zizipho Bam, artist/activist Haroon Gunn-Salie, and writer Sindiswa Busuku as they move between their homes, places of work, and various sites of inspiration in and around Cape Town.

The film explores the lasting impacts of colonialism and apartheid in and on South African art forms, as the four creatives explain the role of art, music and writing in responding to ongoing racial and gender inequalities in South Africa today.

Filmmakers Simon Stanton-Sharma and Maire Tracey said: “Making this documentary with Jade and the team has been fantastic. As filmmakers, we wanted to tell a relevant story about South African Modernism and our challenge was to create a film showing its legacy. 

“There were hundreds of directions we could take the project and coalescing around one central concept took weeks of reading, researching and talking to artists and writers in South Africa.

“It had taken weeks to find an idea that we felt was engaging and full of potential and by then we’d really only reached the starting line of this project and the task of creating an original film had just begun.

“Our four contributors (a writer, poet, artist and musician) totally embraced the film's concept.

“Together we hope to give a snapshot of creativity in Cape Town in 2022 and to explore the echoes of a movement than began more than a century ago.”

You can watch the premier of All That Is Buried as part of the nationwide Being Human Festival on Friday 11 November 2022 from 17:30 – 19:00 at Salford’s Media City Campus.

The event includes a welcome drink, film screening, and Q+A with filmmakers Maire Tracey and Simon Stanton-Sharma, and researchers Dr Jade Munslow Ong and Dr Sanja Nivesjö.

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