Event – CGS Seminar Series – Decolonizing Knowledge: A Lecture-Performance by Grada Kilomba

By Akanksha Mehta|January 21, 2016|CGS Seminar Series, Events|0 comments

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Decolonizing Knowledge: A Lecture-Performance by Grada Kilomba

21 January 2016


In this lecture performance Grada Kilomba explores forms of Decolonizing Knowledge using printed work, writing exercises, performative narrative, and visual art, as forms of alternative knowledge production. Kilomba raises questions concerning the concepts of knowledge, race and gender: “What is acknowledged as knowledge? Whose knowledge is this? Who is acknowledged to produce knowledge?” This project exposes not only the violence of classic knowledge production, but also how this violence is performed in academic, cultural and artistic spaces, which determine both who can speak and what we can speak about.

To touch this colonial wound, she creates a hybrid space where the boundaries between the academic and the artistic languages confine, transforming the configurations of knowledge and power. Using a collage of her literary and visual work, Grada Kilomba initiates a dialogue of multiple narratives who speak, interrupt, and appropriate the ‘normal’ and continuous coloniality in which we reside.

The audience is invited to participate, and to re-imagine the concept of knowledge anew, by opening new spaces for decolonial thinking.

This lecture performance is part of a series by Grada Kilomba titled “Decolonizing Knowledge – Performing Knowledge“©, written and produced during her artist / writer residency in Berlin, 2015-17.


Grada Kilomba is a portuguese writer, theorist, and interdisciplinary artist. Her work draws on gender, race, trauma and memory, and has been translated into several languages and published in international anthologies, magazines, and journals as well as staged internationally. Her work is best known for using a variety of formats, from print publications to staged readings and performance, combining both academic and lyrical narrative creating a new literary style.

She has presented her work at renowned international venues, such as the Vienna Secession Museum, Theater Kampnagel in Hamburg, Theater Muncher Kammerspiel in Munich, Theater Ballhaus Naunynstrasse in Berlin, the House of the World Cultures in Berlin, the National Gallery in Berlin, the Olso Literature House, Mela International Performing Arts Festival in Oslo, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Linköping, the University of London, or at the International Fine Arts Center of Guimarães, Portugal. In 2011, she was awarded as one of the „Most Inspiring Black Women in Europe“ by BWIE, due to her writings and performative readings.

She is the co-editor of “Mythen, Masken and Subjekte” (2005), an anthology on Critical Whiteness; and the author of “Plantation Memories”, a compilation of episodes of everyday racism written in the form of short psychoanalytical stories, first released at the International Literature Festival (2008), at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele and adapted into a staged reading at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin (2013).

Kilomba has been lecturing at several international universities and last was a Guest Professor for Gender Studies at the Humboldt University, Berlin. Currently she is a Writer/ Artist in Residence in Berlin where she is developing a series of projects on “Decolonizing Knowledge – Performing Knowledge” (2015 -2017), using writing, performative narrative, and visual art, as forms of alternative knowledge production.


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