On 30 September, our Decolonial National Interest Group will be holding an online seminar where we will think through what it will mean for HELTASA to use (un)conferencing as a decolonial approach. We encourage all colleagues who have submitted an abstract or are planning to submit an abstract for the annual HELTASA (Un)Conference 2021 to participate in this webinar.

HELTASA has an important voice in the field of academic staff development and in contributing to the growing demands for changes/shifts/disruptions in the higher education sector. For universities in the global South, the Covid-19 pandemic emerges in an already contested terrain of grappling with institutional transformation and decolonization. It is against this background and in this context that the (Un)conference theme for 2021 is aptly: “Sivela phi? Siphi? Siya phi? – Being resilient, responsive and relevant in a shifting Higher Education context”.

This theme largely pays homage to the need to be self-reflexive about where the field of academic development is coming from, as well as the call for the existential thinking about what the future will look like for us in the academy, and our work. HELTASA’s partial response to this theme includes the introduction what we call the “(un)conferencing model”, an attempt at decolonising and disrupting the traditional forms of conferencing organisation and presentations. This model also entails thinking of the alternative and inclusive ways of, and possibilities for sharing knowledge. Various formats, provocations, dialogues, artistic contributions and conversations have been proposed in an attempt at experimenting with this model.

During the Decolonial National Interest Group’s inaugural seminar, we will engage in an interactive critical dialogue and workshop the various ways in which HELTASA is exploring and toying with the (un)conferencing model, and to what extent to which the organisation is achieving its inclusive, democratic and decolonial aims. The webinar will be space for the participants  to experiment with and experience some of the activities and structures envisaged for the conference and contribute to this exciting new format. It will include contributions from Mr Siya Sabata of Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Mr Masixole Booi of Rhodes University, and the workshop will be facilitated by Prof Daniela Gachago and Dr Mlamuli Hlatshwayo.

Session details:

  • Date: 30 September 2021
  • Time: 13:00 – 14:30
  • Platform: Zoom