The Graduate Summer Programme (GSP) is a lively research and practice-led two-week programme of workshops, discussions, and encounters with historical archives and contemporary practice.
The 2024 Programme, “Are We Postcolonial?” will take place between 15–26 July over two weeks in the UK and South Africa. In the first week, participants will be based in London with trips to other places in the United Kingdom. In the second week, participants will travel to Cape Town and Johannesburg. The programme is fully funded, and all travel and accommodation costs are covered.
“Are We Postcolonial?” will introduce a range of approaches to that question through the lens of history, theory and practice. The programme will involve close engagement with objects and histories; opportunities to meet and work with contemporary artists and makers; and forums to think through theoretical and methodological questions of colonialism, decolonisation, neo-colonialism and nationalism in so-called postcolonial societies. We will use ceramics; textiles; graphic design; and a range of historical and contemporary art and design practices to ground our investigations. Questions of material, environment, systems of labour and extraction, memory, the ritual lives of objects and how their meanings have changed across time and space will be central to our approach. In following material, environmental and cultural histories, we ask where the markers of postcolonialism and its heterogenous meanings might lie.
The prefix “post” in “postcolonialism” is understood not as a temporal marker for a clear-cut transition after independence from a colonial power, but as a marker of the relationship that registers the ongoing effect of colonialism on a former colony (see Shohat 1992). Colonialism had lasting effects on both the metropole and its diasporic communities. Through an embodied approach to understanding the continuing legacies of colonialism, “Are We Postcolonial?” will allow us to understand how our contemporary lives are continuously constituted and affected by structures, institutions, habits and objects with roots in the colonial world.
It offers the opportunity for art historians and art students to learn from each other, and for UK-based students, Yale-based students and South Africa-based students to connect with their peers and with other members of the UK and South Africa’s arts communities. The 2024 Graduate Summer Programme is led by Sria Chatterjee and Sarah Turner from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Nontsikelelo Mutiti from the Yale School of Art and Edward Cooke from the Yale History of Art Department.
The programme is structured around:
- hands-on making workshops with contemporary makers and artists; talks by, and discussions with, scholars, curators and artists
- visits to historical sites, archives and arts organisations
- opportunities for collective reflection and the development of ideas
The emphasis of the Summer Programme is on creative and collaborative forms of analysis and exchange between participants, who will form a research cohort around the pressing intellectual, practical and political concerns of the year's theme. Accordingly, participants will be encouraged to share their own areas of interest in the topic, and to collectively develop interdisciplinary research methodologies. The cohort and faculty will work together to produce a tangible manifestation of the ideas that emerge from the programme.