At the interstices of authorial agency: academics and artists in dialogue about the university

Dina Zoe Belluigi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther contribution to conferencepeer-review

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Academic experience, identity and commitments are often subsumed by dominant technocratic discourses of contemporary higher education. However, memory of witnessing past injustices in representation by the university and critical commitments to transformations in authority, can serve to resist the erasure of counter-narratives. The fraught terrain of those who author representations academically and artistically was explored within a research project which sought to generate, and study, counter-stories of the transitions in authority in higher education affected by conflict, colonialism and/ or their legacies. Seven video-artworks were created by artists from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania catalysed by the input of participating academics from Angola, India, South Africa and Syria, whose experiences as first-generation academics, while personal and particular, resonate with the larger patterns of change within their HE sectors. The artworks engage with authorship as a situated agential activity present within cultures, languages, ideologies, influences and biographies, and thus entangled within readership and textuality.


ConferenceAdvancing Critical University Studies Across Africa conference 2023
Abbreviated titleACUSAfrica 2023
Internet address


  • higher education
  • first generation
  • critical consciousness
  • memory
  • witnessing
  • counter-narratives
  • narratives
  • film
  • South Africa
  • Syria
  • India
  • Angola


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