PhD project

“Finding Upright” by Maipelo Gabang

Researcher: Maipelo Gabang

“Finding Upright: A choreographic response to Melissa Harris-Perry’s Crooked Room” is a PhD project by Maipelo Gabang. Maipelo is a PhD student in Choreography.

Finding Upright is an on-going conversation seeking to investigate Black Womanhood within the African diaspora situated in the Swedish context. The research/discussion is entered primarily through the lenses of the literature of Melissa Harris-Perry and her writing on the Crooked Room.

An earlier version of this research was initiated during my postgraduate years at Rhodes University in South Africa. That period in South Africa was characterised by significant political, social and cultural shifts spearheaded by student led activism calling for transformation.

As a foreign national during that period in South Africa, I was confronted with resistances and alienation that required me to question my sense of identity and belonging (alignment & orientation) in relation to my position within the given context.

Since then, I had emigrated to Stockholm, Sweden where I was once more confronted by resistance and alienation which although inhabited a different social, cultural and political context still presented the familiar assignment of finding upright in the myriad of ‘Crooked Rooms’.

Aim and research questions

Engaging with performance methods that:

  • Don’t reproduce racialised and culture specific stereotypes and don’t reiterate current hierarchies of position, knowledge and art.
  • Expand on the often restricted avenues of self- definition and expression of the Black women within the African diaspora.
  • Question identity and belonging (read as alignment & orientation) in relation to people’s positions within the given context (environment).
  • Question and explore how the African diasporic body is a/navigates as transcultural figure?