A Wits school of arts graduate has been appointed as a new member of the editorial committee for the Nordic Journal for Artistic Research.
Wits dramatic arts graduate Eliot Moleba was appointed as the newest member of the editorial committee for the Nordic Journal for Artistic Research (VIS) in Oslo, Norway, on April 22, 2021.
Moleba completed an honours degree in dramatic arts in 2011 and has a master’s in critical diversity studies that he completed in 2016, both at Wits. He is currently working on a doctorate in theatre directing, which he began in 2019, at the Oslo National Academy of Arts.
VIS, the Nordic research journal is a biannual digital journal published as a collaborative initiative of the Stockholm University of Arts and the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme. They had an open call, from February 23 to March 10, for two new members to join their editorial committee of seven.
Johan Palme, editorial project manager of VIS, spoke to Wits Vuvuzela about the selection process. “We were extremely happy to receive 54 applications from every inhabited continent, including renowned professors from significant educational institutions,” he says. The steering committee at VIS then sorted the applications into a short list for the first meeting, and decided to offer the position to Moleba.
Palme says the new members are required to select themes for topics in the journal. They collectively select and provide editorial feedback on expositions published in the journal. The position as a member of the editorial committee usually lasts for two years. “The members are expected to put in about 80 hours a year, where reading and reflecting on the submitted expositions form the vast majority of the work.”
Moleba (33) told Wits Vuvuzela that to qualify for the position, it is a prerequisite to have strong art practice and be well acquainted with artistic research, preferably across several disciplines. He has worked as a scriptwriter and head writer for several children’s television shows and has directed and written theatre plays, some of which received residency in Germany, France and Wales. He has also facilitated creative workshops around the world, which he says influenced how he thinks and makes art.
He is one of the founding members of Play Riot. He was writer and director for theatre productions Sophiatown (2019), Pondoland (2014) and Sizwe Banzi is Alive (2011), to name a few. His television experience includes scriptwriting for Siyakholwa and Rivoningo, both children’s TV shows.
Moleba grew up in Mokopane, Limpopo where his passion for storytelling started at a young age: “Back in those days we did not have TVs, so I would often sit with my grandmother listening to news and stories on the radio.” Because he did not have the best memory for remembering all the details of a story when chatting with friends, he would fill in the gaps by making up his own story. “Very often people would love my version of the stories because they were slightly different,” he says.
“My academic and creative interests are located at the intersection between old and new South Africa, and how it shapes or affects young people.”
Moleba does not discount that his residency in Norway may have influenced VIS’s decision, saying it is expected that new members are somehow affiliated to and familiar with artistic research within the Nordic context. “It probably helped that I am not only based but also working within the context,” he says, and adds that he hopes to bring a unique perspective to the table and to broaden the scope of questions and concerns being addressed.
Palme says VIS is thrilled to have Moleba on board: “He is not only an excellent representative of the vibrant arts and academic world of South Africa but also a ‘sui generis’(unique) incredibly valuable writer, artist and thinker.”
FEATURED IMAGE: Eliot Moleba is a former resident dramaturge at the State Theatre. Photo: Provided
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