Sequins, Self & Struggle: Performing and Archiving Sex, Place and Class in Pageant Competitions in Cape Town

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Holloway, University of London
Department Name: Drama and Theatre

Abstract

This project is a collaboration among the Departments of Drama at the University of Exeter and Queen Mary, University of London (UK), The Centre for Curating the Archive and the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), Africana Studies at Brown University (US) and the District 6 Museum. The primary aims are to research, document and disseminate archives of the Spring Queen and Miss Gay Western Cape pageants performed by disparate coloured communities in greater Cape Town. The Spring Queen pageant is a unique event where coloured female factory workers from the clothing and textile industry in the Western Cape of South Africa compete each year to be crowned "spring queen" of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Worker's Union (SACTWU). Public resistance to apartheid often resulted in violent racial conflict and for the first time in the garment industry in the 1970s there were acts of retaliation to low wages in the form of strikes. It is within this climate of dissent and harsh backlashes that the Spring Queen pageant emerged around 1978. Local trade unions devised the pageant as a mode of alleviating rising tensions amongst workers. A highlight on the Cape-Town social calendar, up to 30000 supporters attend the final event at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town. This project will situate the Spring Queen as a moment of significant cultural shift. As textile manufacturing increasingly moves to China, this is perhaps the last opportunity to document garment and textile workers in Cape Town. The pageant bears testimony to the lives of Cape factory workers both during and after apartheid. The contestants, who live in the marginalised and impoverished areas, primarily in Atlantis and the Cape Flats, travel into the predominantly "white" city centre for the pageant. Important to these performance events is the figure of the "moffie", a queer coloured male, often a transsexual, who has traditionally choreographed and designed the pageants, but who is forbidden from competing in them. Miss Gay Western Cape, which grew out of the Spring Queen pageant and the new South African constitution that was the first in the world to include protection for sexual minorities, is a platform for queer non-white persons to perform in a secure environment without exploitation. This project will investigate the significance of these pageants and the performances they engender. By creating an alternative to apartheid-era archives that marginalized these communities, we will engage in the wider democratic practice of reimagining South Africa, first initiated by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. We will consider: the disruption of categories of representation engendered by performance in the pageants; the performance of emancipation and self-determination in the figure of the "queen"; constructions of gender, beauty and alternative sexuality in minority communities; and the continued segregation of space in Cape Town. The project aims to provide a unique perspective on marginalised lives, through an interdisciplinary lens; focusing on visuality, performativity and orality, it will offer a space for previously disavowed narratives to be articulated, which will not only be of benefit to these communities, but to post-apartheid South Africa and postcolonial Africa at large. Collaborative workshops will bring together scholars from performance studies, visual culture, cultural geography, gender and queer studies, digital humanities and African studies. In-depth archival research, the gathering of new and 'ordinary' archival material from public and private sources, oral histories and interviews will be made available as a public online archive. The forms of dissemination will have an extensive audience. These will include journal articles, interdisciplinary academic workshops, performance and curation workshops for pageant participants, a documentary and a digital archive.

Planned Impact

We have identified four main groups to be impacted by this research:
(1) coloured women factory workers in the Western Cape;
(2) LGBTI communities in South Africa;
(3) archivists and curators.

(1) The project aims to benefit local coloured women factory workers in the Western Cape by considering their past history and taking pride in their cultural and performance heritage at the pageants since the late 1970s, and reflecting on the link between their culture and personal and communal identity, which is grounded in both their work at clothing and textile factories, their homes in townships and their performances and/or participation in the Spring Queen pageants. The digital archive will create an oral and visual history which will document the memories of the community, ensuring this history is passed on to subsequent generations. Potential benefits to this group also include: (a) enhanced awareness of this particular performance practice and its larger cultural value; (b) a forum of discussion and reflection; (c) enhanced understanding of the broad social outcomes, intended and unintended, by the Spring Queen pageant and its relation to the women's labour; (d) performance workshops that offer alternatives to and developments on the pageants. The choice of location for the workshops is directly related to impact. As factories close down the Spring Queen is likely to disappear. Workshops in the townships will relocate this community performance work to the area where these participants live, outside of the predominantly white city centre. The workshop at University of Cape Town has been scheduled for the co-participation of Miss Gay Western Cape participants, who have expressed anxiety about performing in the Cape Flats and Atlantis given the potential for homophobic attitudes in these areas. The curator workshops will directly involve these women in the selection and curation of material that represents their practice.

(2) LGBTI communities in South Africa in general, but those in the outlying communities of Cape Town in particular, will benefit by participating in a forum for discussion and reflection on non-white queer identities. The documentation of their practice and related queer performance histories in District Six will give crucial exposure to Miss Gay Western Cape, and its HIV education programmes, both in LGBTI communities and South Africa at large. As many studies have focused on exclusively white or black homosexuality, this study will also give voice to a coloured LGBTI community that has been underrepresented.

(3) As we intend to directly include those represented in the exhibition in its curation, this will function as an important example for archivists and curators alike. This project will develop an archive of pageants that does not exist in a mainstream guise, given that these images and narratives are scattered across the Western Cape. This will allow for research along several platforms. Archivists at various institutions including museums, libraries and galleries will be able to access and link to this collection. In the same vein, curators in galleries and educational institutions will be able to creatively make use of the images and texts (according to Creative Commons guides) and in so doing further extend the impact of the project. These men and women from the pageants will be curators-in-training on this project, fulfilling a crucial role given that there are very few, if any, 'curators-of-colour' from this group.

By addressing these key user groups in ways specified in the Pathways to Impact, the proposed project seeks to strengthen relationships between the academy, archivists, curators and coloured and LGBTI communities in South Africa.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Documentary Films 
Description "Spring Queen" is a 44 minute documentary that highlights the realities of the South African clothing and textile industry through the lens of the fashion pageant that is the subject of the grant. "Coloured" is 26-minute documentary on Miss Gay Western Cape. Both films to be aired on CTV (http://www.capetowntv.org) with an estimated audience of 3 million people. Both have been submitted to the SABC, the national South African broadcaster. Screening dates to be advised. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Invitation to major film festivals Invitation by clothing and textile factories to screen to workers Invitation to present the film and host discussion to the Western Cape Provincial Government Department of Cultural Affairs and sport 
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGTKlAzeOH4
 
Description While the practice-based component of this project has now drawn to a close (with the exception of the online digital archive-a space that remains active, dynamic and subject to curation), our archival research continues. We are currently in the process of curating and editing one of our major research outputs, the American-South African peer reviewed special journal issue of Safundi. This collection draws together key artists, activists and academics into an interdisciplinary dialogue that includes meditations on and analysis and explorations of gender, sexuality, labour, cultural geographies, African Studies, new animations of under-researched archives, and a linking of the project into wider debates around accessibility, race and gentrification in Cape Town. New research methods: The location of the archive on the internet - as well as on the University of Cape Town library - and the use of low-resolution photographs and videos that are more easily accessible on hand-held mobile devices used by the participants who may not have any other recourse to the internet is crucial to this practice of openness, connectivity and representation. By placing the responsibility of representation on the pageant participants for the selection of archival material we hope to break former archival habits before and during apartheid (as well as archives worldwide) that produced hierarchical distinctions between subjects (the producers of knowledge) and objects (of the archive). The individual and highly personal photographs and homemade videos selected by participants therefore steer away from the fabrication of a queer type, the transgendered or drag performer of colour, or a singular articulation of the cultural practices of the pageants. Among the significant and generative questions that the process prompted were:
-what are the relationships between post-apartheid South African national identities and sexual rights?
- in what way are new postcolonial directions intersecting with queer theory and the sexual geographies of Cape Town?
-it is axiomatic that these intersections are bounded by race and economic privilege, but how does this trouble/disrupt/allow for dialogue that is multi-racial and inter-class?

A key finding: contrary to the way in which the grafting of gay rights into the 1994 SA constitution was framed publically (as a narrative that was both central to the ethos of the constitution and widely accepted by South African citizens), gay rights have suffered under dual conditions of marginalization and intense bigotry, often in the form of psychic and physical violence. 'Rainbow Nation', a moniker which implies an intersection between multiracialism and gay rights, is under scrutiny today, as much for its inability to address racial disenfranchisement as for its failure to attend to the basic safety of gay citizens. In order to do this, we have been focusing on new understandings of social and cultural oppression that link postcolonial and queer theories in a self-conscious and nuanced mode that are sensitive to the particularities of local contexts.
-Bryce Lease has published an article in Theatre Research International (TRI) that outlines the aims and research questions of the project. This will be published in a special issue on queer research methodologies and is part of the wider research initiative of the Queer Futures research group of International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR).
Exploitation Route The digital archive will be used as a research tool for postgraduate students (one MFA student at UCT is already writing a dissertation based on this research material, and this could turn into a PhD project). The project team presented findings at the Western Cape Provincial Government's Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport in November 2014. We also met with the GALA archive in Johannesburg to discuss how they might digitise their materials using the strategies we have developed. We have given GALA a copy of our archive. The research from this project is being used to develop digital archives in Colombia as part of the AHRC-funded project, Embodied Performance Practices in Processes of Reconciliation, Construction of Memory and Peace in Choco and Medio Pacifico, Colombia.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://sequins-self-struggle.co.uk/
 
Description The project has drawn the attention of both international and local media. These include: CNBC Africa, ENCA, Heart FM, SA FM, The Mail and Guardian, The Cape Argus, The Voice, and independent newspapers. Less tangible but equally important are the relationships that have been formed between the academy and communities outside the academy. We understand these relationships not as 'out-reach' but as a vital process of mutual knowledge production and exchange: our research has been enriched significantly by impute and discussion with participants from both pageants, and participants in turn have suggested that those same conversations have prompted new ways of thinking about and positioning their own labour. This process of exchange signifies an ongoing reconfiguration of the relationship between researcher and subject: - SACTWU (South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union) have observed that this has changed the way the academy works with the union and its members. - -We have worked closely with SACTWU and the organisers of the MGWC to chart how the project has impacted their artistic and cultural practices as well as labour relations. - The project has been held in very high regard by the organisers of the various pageants. Lease was invited to be a pageant judge for Miss Gay Western Cape in 2014 and O'Connell was invited to judge Spring Queen in 2015. This has been significant in embedding the research in the cultural production of the pageants, and has also mutually informed the research project. - Our digital archive and documentary on the Spring Queen will be included in a court action taken by SACTWU against the closure of the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town, where the pageant has been held since the late 1970s. This has been one of the most significant cultural venues for working class communities and communities of colour across the Western Cape for decades. The project materials have helped positively impact public opinion on this cultural centre and the broader cultural activities of factory workers and communities in Cape Town. This civil action forms an important component of the legal and social push-back around the ongoing gentrification of the city centre and exists on a continuum with the 'Reclaim the City' movement, a campaign for affordable housing in Cape Town. As a result of the project, SACTWU have asked O'Connell to produce a 26-minute documentary on the history of the union, granting unprecedented access that will be screened on national television. This project has drawn attention to and evidenced the economic and cultural significance of the union's pageant to the city of Cape Town as part of this court action. Narrative available here on SACTWU's site (http://www.sactwu.org.za/files/Sactwu%20Spring%20Queen%20s77%20form%20&%20annexures.pdf). - We have offered workshops to pageant participants that engaged questions of memory, sexuality, labour, creativity and human rights. - Particularly noteworthy new research networks/collaborations/partnerships, or combinations of these: The project has attracted the attention of the GALA archives housed at the University of Witwatersrand - the only publically funded gay and lesbian archive in Africa. We met with GALA in November 2014 to help them implement strategies we have developed on this project to digitise their materials. - The documentary on the Spring Queen pageant has been shown at Encounters Film Festival in Cape Town and Rhodes University in Grahamstown. It has also been incorporated in the curriculum in African Studies and Visual Arts at University of Cape Town. - The British Council invited the project team to participate in the UK/South Africa cultural programme in London in 2015 with an exhibition linked to the project, which was open to the general public. - As part of the symposium we invited young black South African scholars to participate in debates, events and discussions and funded their travel and accommodation: Glenton Matthyse (University of the Western Cape) and Katlego Disemelo (University of the Witwatersrand). In this way the project was attending to and being alert to the current engagement activities in South Africa that are helping to develop a cohort of black academics and researchers. Both young scholars have developed a professional relationship with this network of researchers and activists. - The project team was invited to collaborate with the South Bank Centre for the Nelson Mandela Weekend in July 2015. This was a weekend festival that celebrated and explored the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, which included free music, talks, film, performances and debates, showcasing new creative talent and ground-breaking debate about South Africa today. Our final symposium was included in the events and our speakers were invited to speak as part of a range of free public talks. We curated one debate, 'Over the Rainbow: Mandela and LGBTQI Rights'. - Research from this project is now being used to develop new digital archives in Colombia as part of the AHRC-funded project, Embodied Performance Practices in Processes of Reconciliation, Construction of Memory and Peace in Choco and Medio Pacifico, Colombia.
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Influence on SACTWU (South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union)
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The project benefited local women factory workers in the Western Cape by considering their past history and taking pride in their cultural and performance heritage at the pageants since the late 1970s, and reflecting on the link between their culture and personal and communal identity, which is grounded in both their work at clothing and textile factories, their homes in townships and their performances and/or participation in the Spring Queen pageants. The digital archive created an oral and visual history that documents the memories of the community, ensuring this history is passed on to subsequent generations. Workshops directly involved these women in the selection and curation of material that represents their practice. While the factory workers and the union have a crucial role to play in South Africa's textile economies, the workers' pride in their own labour is largely unrecognized. SACTWU commissioned the project team to curate an exhibition to commemorate the 4oth anniversary of Spring Queen at the 2015 pageant held at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, which will be seen by up to 8000 audience members. By historicizing, archiving and contextualising the Spring Queen pageant, the project team helped not only to increase factory workers' own awareness of the significance of the pageants (both preliminaries held in factories and the final pageant held in community centres), but has also brought its importance to the attention of wider publics across the Western Cape and beyond. This has resulted in the enhancement of public understanding of the economic and cultural production of coloured and black communities in the Western Cape. As Fachmy Abrahams, Coordinator for the office of the General Secretary of SACTWU (South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union) commented, the documentary and the exhibition on the Spring Queen 'opened people's eyes to what the industry is about. That the women they see in the newspapers the week before the pageant and the week after the pageant - what they choose to buy affects those women's lives. This project has put our industry and the struggles of women at the forefront of people's minds who walk into a store and look at a garment.' This has made 'many people think about where it is made' and consider 'if I buy South African made clothing it might cost a little more but it will contribute to our economy and it will contribute to our society. There is no amount of lecturing, marches, protests, strikes that can achieve that. Because we have done that before. We've done the marches. We've done the protests. We've done the sit ins. And it had very minimal impact.' With this project 'we are beyond the borders of what our work is and it's opened up people's eyes in a way our work probably wouldn't be able to do' (Interview with Lease and O'Connell, 03.02.2017). Washiela Gordon (factory worker at Pals Clothing and Ellen Arthur) was interviewed on ENcA as well as Heart 104fm in response to the project. Gordon commented: 'the screening of the Spring Queen film, radio interviews, articles in the newspapers, workshops with factory workers, I and many of my close colleagues and friends in the factories believe that attention has been brought to the work that we do and the lives that we lead. This project has allowed us to be on national TV channels, speaking for ourselves as we make the point that what we do is important. Without this project, I don't think the same kind of attention would have been drawn to the struggles that we face or the lives we want to lead.' O'Connell was interviewed in July 2014 by CNBC Africa for the weekend programme 'Business Bhenind the Arts' on the project and the Spring Queen documentary, which had featured in the Encounters Film Festival. Journalist Benedict Pather claimed that as a result 'Spring Queen, and its plight' 'received a lot of exposure'. This coverage directly resulted in Pather being assigned to do a piece for CNBC Africa on the R200m grant received by the DTi to create a Sustainable Textile and Apparel Cluster and a series of interviews with SACTWU to comment on the significance of this grant (see Pather in 'evidence').
 
Description LGBTQ Communities in the Western Cape
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact LGBTI communities in South Africa in general, but those in the outlying communities of Cape Town in particular, benefited from the research by participating in a forum for discussion and reflection on non-white queer identities. Participants described the workshops as 'liberating, amazing, positive' (Rashaad Davids, personal correpondance) Zilin Ayoki Zhang (this participant prefers to be referred to by her drag name) said, "Having participated in two workshops and a documentary has served as a time to reflect on the relevance that pageants have in general." Reflecting on the project and his participation in the symposium and our panel on LGBTQ Rights at the Southbank Centre, Glenton Matthyse said, "All these spaces/experiences have impacted and greatly enriched my understanding of gender, sexuality, identity and performativity in profound ways. The documentary and journey that I embarked on was extremely fulfilling and liberating at a personal level because it allowed me to unfold and explore the different aspects that makes me who I am. The London symposium exposed me to an intellectual space and intellectuals that I aspire to be and participate in. The level of thinking and rigour that goes into unpacking and interrogating identity politics was something that inspired me deeply. Notwithstanding the importance of the formal intellectual project, having been included within the programme as an activist, drag performer and student boosted my confidence in my own ability when engaging critically about matters that affect us." The documentation of their practice and related queer performance histories across the Western Cape offered crucial exposure to Miss Gay Western Cape in LGBTI communities and South Africa at large. As many studies have focused on exclusively white or black homosexuality, this study provided visibility for South African coloured LGBTI communities that have been underrepresented. Lease and O'Connell produced a documentary called "Coloured", which was selected for the Klein Karoo Film Festival July 2015. This included an audience of 450, and only 50 films were selected for screening out of 110 submitted (evidenced in Cape Times, 7.7.15). As reported in the Cape Times, 'Libraries across the city have also signed up to screen the documentary to thousands of pupils and their parents'. There was a screening accompanied by a question and answer with O'Connell open to the general public. "Coloured" was also screened for Solidarity Evening (16 May 2015) at University of Western Cape as part of the Transpolitics and LGBTQI Solidarity Week. This documentary as well as Spring Queen, a 44-minute documentary on the clothing industry of the Western Cape of South Africa was aired on CTV (http://www.capetowntv.org) with an estimated audience of 3 million people. Spring Queen screened on CTV 19 March 2016, 21h30 and "Coloured" screened on 11 April 2016, 21h00. Spring Queen has also been screened at Encounters Film Festival in Cape Town and Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Glenton Matthyse, who participated in the making of "Coloured", claimed, "The documentary provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my personal politics and where this is situated within society and law. Subsequently, it has also assisted me to try and understand the nuances of identity-formation politics at large in order to determine the linkages between inclusion and transformation and exclusion and marginalisation." It has also "sparked many conversations around what it means to live as a coloured person in everyday life." The films have been submitted to the SABC, the national South African broadcaster. Saleem Badat, programme Program Director for International Higher Education & Strategic Projects for the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, praised the documentary: 'Coming at it from the perspective of Coloured gay people and difference seems to me to be a potentially very powerful entry point' in questions about coloured South African identities. 'The overall takeaway, as I read it, is very compelling: Embrace difference, as it can be a powerful wellspring for self-confidence and self-assertion and for building an inclusive Cape Town and society.' (Personal correspondence 10.07.2015). Significant media coverage has accompanied the documentaries, including: Cape Times (7 July 2015) and Independent Online. The potential screening of the documentaries on the national broadcaster SABC is featured with the headline 'Opening debate to millions'. The Cape Argus newspaper article on 'Sequins, Self and Struggle' featured as part of coverage of the Spring Queen Pageants (13 November 2015).
 
Description Public Action
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Our digital archive and documentary on the Spring Queen will be included in a court action taken by SACTWU against the closure of the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town, where the pageant has been held since the late 1970s. This has been one of the most significant cultural venues for working class communities and communities of colour across the Western Cape for decades. The project materials have helped positively impact public opinion on this cultural centre and the broader cultural activities of factory workers and communities in Cape Town. This civil action forms an important component of the legal and social push-back around the ongoing gentrification of the city centre and exists on a continuum with the 'Reclaim the City' movement, a campaign for affordable housing in Cape Town.
 
Description University Curriculum
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Our documentary "Coloured" has been screened in 2015 in courses at University of Cape Town at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the Centre for African Studies: Public Culture in Africa (AXL4203F), Imagining the World in Photographs ((FIN5012F) and Envisioning the Body: Representations of the Human in Art and Visual Culture (FIN2029F). 'Sequins Self and Struggle' is included in the undergraduate teaching programmed in Visual and Art History through a second year course, Fin2029F, Envisioning the Body. UCT MA (FA) candidate Zyma Amien successfully completed her studies on the local clothing industry. Dr Siona O'Connell supervised her due to her involvement in the AHRC project. The project has resulted in an MFA thesis and exhibition entitled '"Real" lives and "ordinary" objects: Partisan strategies art-making with garment workers of the Western Cape' at University of Cape Town in 2015.
 
Description British Council South Africa/UK Season 2015
Amount R 100,000 (ZAR)
Funding ID UO421517 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 07/2015
 
Description Embodied Performance Practices in Processes of Reconciliation, Construction of Memory and Peace in Choco and Medio Pacifico, Colombia
Amount £266,559 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/R013748/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 07/2020
 
Description Standard Grant
Amount R 555,000 (ZAR)
Funding ID 106058 
Organisation South African National Research Foundation (NRF) 
Sector Public
Country South Africa
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2019
 
Description UCT Postgraduate Scholarship
Amount R 15,000 (ZAR)
Organisation University of Cape Town 
Sector Academic/University
Country South Africa
Start 04/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description UCT Travel Grant
Amount R 25,000 (ZAR)
Organisation University of Cape Town 
Sector Academic/University
Country South Africa
Start 06/2014 
End 07/2014
 
Title Digital Archive 
Description Digital visual archive - Cape Town pageants 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact - GALA archives wish to use our strategies and include our archive in their collections - Pageant participants co-creating the archive - UCT postgraduate students creating research projects from the material Digital Archive: http://sequins-self-and-struggle.com To date over 800 items have been sourced and loaded onto the web archive. Statistics to date include: (end of 2016) include: 11,183 page views; 2084 users; 2534 sessions Opportunities for expansion have been identified following the inception of the digital archive and since June 2015, postgraduate students from the Faculty of Science (Computer Science) at the University of Cape Town have been working on reconfiguring the archive with the understanding that digital preservation is the predominant approach, using computer systems to collect, store and provide access to collections of text and multimedia. Three historically disadvantaged female students have been working with users including students, clothing workers, academics and others to enhance the archive, responding to set up and/or migrate appropriate using open source archival tools (such as Omega) as a starting point. This development phase will include the development of specific advanced features such as: user- and group-based personalization; submission of user-assembled performances/exhibitions as new contributions; and integration with social media and/or mobile devices. This archive will be loaded on UCT's server and will be freely available as UCT digital content. Testing is still being completed and we anticipate migration to UCT being completed by June 2016. In late February 2016, we received approximately 500 new items for the Spring Queen archive from SACTWU. These will be digitised over the next 8 weeks. 
URL http://sequins-self-and-struggle.com
 
Description British Council South Africa/UK Season 
Organisation British Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Siona O'Connell curated an exhibition and screened the documentary "Coloured" as part of the SA/UK season 2015 at the Embassy Tea Gallery in London in July 2015.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration with the British Council for their South Africa/UK Season. The SA-UK 2015 Season came out of talks that began at the Inter-Ministerial Bilateral forum in London in 2011, resulting in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Arts and Culture, which set out a platform for cooperation to be implemented by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the British Council. This creative programme functioned as a channel to further strengthen cultural relations between these two nations. Siona O'Connell was given funding to curate an exhibition and show her documentary from our project as part of the 2015 SA/UK Season.
Impact - Exhibition: see above for details.
Start Year 2015
 
Description GALA (Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action) 
Organisation Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action
Country South Africa 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We furthered our collaboration with GALA (Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action) archives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our digital archive is now linked to their website and public archives. This is particularly significant as this is the only publicly funded archive on gay and lesbian lives in Africa.
Collaborator Contribution Interaction with the project and
Impact Digital Archive
Start Year 2014
 
Description Mandela Weekend 
Organisation Southbank Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The project team was invited to collaborate with the South Bank Centre for the Nelson Mandela Weekend in July 2015. This was a weekend festival that celebrated and explored the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, which included free music, talks, film, performances and debates, showcasing new creative talent and ground-breaking debate about South Africa today. Our final symposium was included in the events and our speakers were invited to speak as part of a range of free public talks. We curated one debate, 'Over the Rainbow: Mandela and LGBTQI Rights'.
Collaborator Contribution The Southbank Centre provided rooms for our final project symposium free of charge for two days. These rooms at the top of the Centre with views over central London are normally charged at a rate of £2K per day.
Impact Our symposium speakers were invited to speak as part of a range of free public talks. We curated one non-ticketed open public debate, 'Over the Rainbow: Mandela and LGBTQI Rights', which was hosted in the foyer of the Southbank Centre.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Digital Archive Construction 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The digital archive has been developed by students of colour in the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town. This archive has multiple functions: furnishes information; allows production by users through digital curation and commentary; has the ability to respond to and showcase user contributions so that the archive is constantly shaped and reshaped by users. This archive has been tested by multiple users across different skill levels, including textile workers, cleaners, undergraduate students and university faculty. It will be used as a teaching tool in 2016 for the UCT courses Public Culture in Africa (AXL4203F) and Envisioning the Body: Representations of the Human in Art and Visual Culture (FIN2029F).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description Documentary Screenings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Siona O'Connell's documentary "Coloured" was selected for the Klein Karoo Film Festival July 2015 (http://www.cca.uct.ac.za/siona-oconnells-short-film-coloured-to-be-aired-at-indie-karoo-short-film-festival/). There was a screening accompanied by a question and answer with Dr. O'Connell. "Coloured" was also screened for Solidarity Evening (16 May 2015) at University of Western Cape as part of the Transpolitics and LGBTQI Solidarity Week. This documentary as well as Spring Queen, a 44-minute documentary on the clothing industry of the Western Cape of South Africa will be aired on CTV (http://www.capetowntv.org) with an estimated audience of 3 million people. The film has been submitted to the SABC, the national South African broadcaster. Screening dates to be advised.

Significant media coverage has accompanied the documentaries made as part of the project, including: Cape Times (7 July 2015) and Independent Online (http://beta.iol.co.za/capetimes/opening-her-debates-to-millions-1881770). O'Connell's documentaries on SABC is featured with the headline 'Opening her debate to millions'. The Cape Argus newspaper article on 'Sequins, Self and Struggle' featured as part of coverage of the Spring Queen Pageants (13 November 2015).


After the screenings, international TV stations (CNBC, ENCA) as well as print media requested interviews on the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
URL http://www.cnbcafrica.com/video/?bctid=3667556654001
 
Description Exhibition and screening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The British Council awarded a grant to Dr Siona O'Connell to take an exhibition and film to London as part of the South Africa/UK 2015 season. Both the exhibition and the 26-minute documentary were based entirely on the work facilitated by the AHRC grant.
Grant reference number: UO421517. Awarded February 2015 for Siona O'Connell's Sequins, Self and Struggle exhibition and documentary "Coloured". One-week exhibition at the Embassy Tea Gallery, London. 100,000SAR
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Exhibitions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact SACTWU asked the project team to curate an exhibition to commemorate the 4oth anniversary of Spring Queen at the 2015 pageant held at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, which will be seen by up to 8000 audience members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited Lecture (Goldsmiths) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Dr Lease was invited to present findings from the project at the Cultural Anthropology research seminar at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=10433
 
Description Invited Lecture (King's College London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Dr Lease was invited to present on the project for Queer@King's, an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research group that has been operating in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at KCL since 2003, often with the support of the Annual Fund. Already an important feature in the research culture of the University of London for colleagues interested in gender and sexuality, Queer@King's became one of the Faculty's official centres in 2006. The talk was attended by staff, students and was open to members of the public, such as arts practitioners and drag performers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/ahri/centres/q@k/Events/2016-17.aspx
 
Description Invited talk (Pretoria) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Lease was invited to present findings from the project at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria. This was attended by staff and students from a number of disciplines and professional museum curators.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.up.ac.za/en/calendar/event-info/2415012/public-lecture-dragging-rights-queering-publics-r...
 
Description Keynote Speaker for the Session on Woman, Gender & Social Development (UWC) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr. Siona O'Connell was invited as a keynote speaker for the Session on Woman, Gender & Social Development at the University of the Western Cape. Dr. O'Connell also organised an exhibition that centres on the local clothing and textile industry dominated by women, known as Spring Queens. This formed part of the Economic and Management Sciences Research Week (3-7 Oct 2016), which focuses on Social Equality & Transformation at University of Western Cape
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Public Debate 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Nelson Mandela Festival, South Bank Centre. Bryce Lease chaired symposium speakers on a panel on gay and trans politics and identities in South Africa at the South Bank Centre as part of the Nelson Mandela commemoration weekend. This was included in coverage in South Bank booklets and on their website. Panel speakers included internationally recognised authors and activists: Mojisola Adebayo, Mark Gevisser, Zethu Matebeni, Jay Pather and Graeme Reid (Head of the Sexuality Office for Human Rights Watch). This was a non-ticketed event in the main foyer of the South Bank Centre with several hundred people from the general public in attendance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Public Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Siona O'Connell was invited to speak on Spring Queen at VIADUCT: Archival Addresses: Photography, Practices, Positionalities. The Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) Research Centre, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg (18-20 March 2015).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Public Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Siona O'Connell invited to give a public lecture on the project at London College of Fashion (20 July 2015): - http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2015/7/20/Design-for-Performance-Research-Hub-Performance-and-Curation-in-South-Africa/. O'Connell worked with MA/PhD students on connections between postcolonialism and fashion and employed several postgraduate interns from LCF to work on the British Council exhibition. This presentation and panel discussion built on 'Sequins, Self and Struggle: Performance, Pageants and Public in South Africa' exhibition and symposium held at the South Bank Centre. Following this talk at LCF, O'Connell was interviewed by 'Shades of Noir' (http://shadesofnoir.org.uk/dr-siona-oconnell-centre-for-curating-the-archive-university-of-cape-town/), which is an online magazine published by University of London that develops a platform for discussions around race and discrimination.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://events.arts.ac.uk/event/2015/7/20/Design-for-Performance-Research-Hub-Performance-and-Curatio...
 
Description Public Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Bryce Lease has presented research findings from the project at the following forums: European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), Sorbonne University, France, July 2015; African Theatre Association (AfTA) Conference, Loyola Marymount University, USA, July 2015; Queer Futures Working Group, International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), University of Stockholm, June 2016.

Bryce Lease and Nadia Davids were invited to disseminate research from the grant at QUORUM, Queen Mary University of London (02 March 2016). April Sizemore-Barber presented research findings at the Performative Archives Conference, NUI Galway, Ireland, July 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Screening of documentaries (CTT) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The two documentaries made by the project team were screened on Cape Town Television (CTT):

Spring Queen screened on CTV 19 March 2016, 21h30

Coloured screened on CTV 11 April 2016, 21h00
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Workshops with pageant participants 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Workshops sparked discussion, critical reflections and created material for the digital archive

Participants have taken over the creation of the digital archive. Project team have been invited to take active roles in the pageants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014