Current Research Project
Header: Transatlantic dialogues beyond disciplinary boundaries. Acrylic on canvas with images from the DjumbaiALA homepage. © Valerie V. V. Gruber, 2020.
DjumbaiALA: Dialogues of African and Afro-diasporic Knowledges in the Multimedia Age
Team: Valerie V. V. Gruber, Diana Carolina Mignano, Jonas do Nascimento, Gilbert Shang Ndi, Cláudio Manoel Duarte de Souza
Using multimedia in science communication offers promising opportunities for South-South dialogues between Africa and its diasporas in Latin America. To uncover historical connections and stimulate mutual learning processes, we need to transcend geographical distances, but also epistemological and sociocultural boundaries. DjumbaiALA is a transdisciplinary initiative that uses creative/artistic means of communication and multimedia technologies to build bridges between Africa and Latin America, and between academia and the civil society.
Against this backdrop, the project “Dialogues of African and Afro-Diasporic Knowledges in the Multimedia Age” aims at developing new strategies and tools of science communication, while expanding an international network of cooperation partners. Thanks to the first prize awarded to DjumbaiALA in the ideas competition on the Brazil Day of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the team achieved funding to hold a workshop in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) in April 2023. Bringing together early career researchers and experts in digital design, performance and African studies, the open network of academics, artists and activists constituting DjumbaiALA since 2016 has constantly been expanded.
The homepage provides access to materials on four thematic axes published in different languages: Heritage and Identity; Territoriality and Inequality; Body and Representation; Artistic Narratives and Transversal Connections. DjumbaiALA not only increases the visibility and outreach of research topics relevant on both shores of the Atlantic, but also propagates civil society and artistic knowledges which are often denied in the academic field. These are spread in particular through the DjumbaiALA YouTube channel. This is crucial when working in and with the Global South in order to combat structural inequalities in academic knowledge production and dissemination. Interested parties are welcome at any time to become part of this transatlantic network, submit materials for the homepage and co-create DjumbaiALA actively.
Recent video projects:
- LA VIDA COMO UNA OBRA DE ARTE - A. Alvarez, T. Anjos, U. Santana & W. Ospino Hide
“La vida como una obra de arte“ (“Life as a work of art“) allows us to show the artist in each one of us, and makes it clear that dance and music constitute a universal language capable of uniting two sister countries, even if they do not speak the same language. This Colombian-Brazilian group reaffirms its cultural identity and recognises the need to keep fighting in order to preserve the roots of Afrodescendant peoples through artistic expressions such as dance, music, poetry and literature.
Link to video
- EN UNA SOLA PIEL - F. Vargas, L. Sousa, M. Ornelas & M. Salgado Hide
"En Una Sola Piel" ("In the Same Skin") brings together four bodies, four ways of thinking and four different perspectives with the common goal of transforming lives through arts and culture. This autobiographical performance is inspired by the daily life of two women and two men born in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) and Cartagena (Colombia) respectively, connected by history, personal approaches and similar contexts, forcing them to survive amidst the opportunities life offers them. Through arts and culture, they seek the daily motivation to be and to live in dignity, discovering in music and dance an escape from all the social and personal struggles to which they are subjected, thereby paving the way for overcoming.
Link to video
- SOU EU - F. Salgado, J. Gómez, T. Campos & T. NascimentoHide
Through an exchange between countries that feel the same needs for relief and resistance in order to exist, this Colombian-Brazilian group creates an artistic laboratory that cuts across different disciplines such as music, dance, literature and poetry. It seeks to raise social consciousness in pluricultural societies standing up against a world of chaos and violence caused by vile intolerance. The video expresses different points of view, moments and situations that have led to this intolerance, seeking a common interrelationship that identifies them as nations touched and affected by a dark and frivolous past.
Link to video
- FIANDO RAÍZES DE UM LEGADO - C. Beleño, C. Luz, G. Dias & N. CarmonaHide
Talking about Black history through time leads us to think about enslavement, suffering and the malevolent venture of the deadly transatlantic voyages that caused the madness and death of many people. Within all this disaster, however, there is an ancestral legacy that has transcended generations, beginning with the rebellion and escape of many enslaved people who formed communities such as Palenques in Colombia and Quilombos in Brazil. This video alludes to the struggle and recognition of Black leaders who are not fully recognized in our history, inviting us to inquire about these characters who were and are part of the struggle and resistance of Black people against colonialism.
Link to video
- MEMORIAS DE UNA GENERACIÓN CON OLOR A CAFÉ - C. Beleño & M. ZangoHide
In Colombia, more than 6 million people have been forced to abandon their homes and lands due to the violence orchestrated by outlawed groups. This is a work of remembrance of a haunting past for the many families that have left behind everything that they once built with their toil and sweat, for mothers who have helplessly left the charred bodies of their children lying on the ground and many others exposed to the tribulations of forced recruitment. This situation which has been reproduced for decades is expressed in the poem ¿Qué es lo bueno? (What is the good?), accompanied by melodies and bodily movements that attempt to exorcise ghosts from the past. These are passed onto the next generations in sleepless nights and political discussions stemming from the conversations between grandparents, their children and grandchildren. This is a story that does not come to a definite end, but ends with a new beginning.
Link to video
- EL ENCUENTRO DE LAS TIERRAS - D. Araúja, M. Zango & L. PérezHide
“El Encuentro de las Tierras” (“The Confluence of Roots”) is about relations, a poetics of relation, to use the words of the Caribbean intellectual, Edouard Glissant. In particular, it is about the contact between artistic and subjective roots. Possibly, it also connotes a confluence of languages and memories for the production of a relation between Brazil, Colombia and Mozambique. It is in this sense that the artists Diego Araúja (Brazil), Matchume Zango (Mozambique) and Lobadys Pérez (Colombia) make use of music, sound, choreography, documentary, literature and oral lyric to come up with a Creole and artistic production in this audiovisual work.
Link to video