International Artists and Scholars

Hope Azeda – Rwanda


Hope Azeda is the Founder and Artistic Director of Mashirika Performing Arts, a leading theatre company in Kigali, Rwanda. Mashirika Performing Arts mission is to convey that the arts are not only for entertainment but also a tool for social transformation and a source of employment. Azeda specializes in social issues theatre that focuses on the Rwandan Genocide as well as youth-focused issues such as peer pressure, sexuality, coping with trauma because of war, HIV, and ethnic differences. She is currently the curator of Ubumuntu Arts Festival, a festival created for the sake of humanity as well as the Vice President of IRIZA CART (The Rwandan Association for Cineastes). Azeda is a graduate of Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda in Music, Dance and Drama. For this conference, she will be one of our Artists in Residence introducing students to her work and teaching them about social justice theater as a tool they could use to connect to their communities.

Yaba Badoe – United Kingdom


Yaba Badoe is a graduate of King’s College, Cambridge. She has worked as a producer and director making documentaries for British television. Among her credits are: Black and White, an investigation into race and racism in Bristol, using hidden video cameras for British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC1); I Want Your Sex, a documentary exploring images and myths surrounding black sexuality in Western art, literature, film and photography, for Channel 4; and the six-part series Voluntary Service Overseas for ITV. Badoe directed and co-produced (with Amina Mama) the prize-winning documentary, The Witches of Gambaga. In the film, Badoe explores how accusations of witchery have made women outcasts and the ways they have created home in an isolated area of Ghana.(Photo by Niall McDiamid)

Shirley Campbell Barr – Costa Rica


Shirley Campbell Barr has several collections of poetry, and has published dozens of articles in journals, anthologies and newspapers in several countries. Her works have been translated into English, French and Portuguese. A feminist, human rights advocate and activist who is engaged in the Afro-descendent cause in Latin America, she has been participating in conferences, workshops, poetry readings contributing to the processes of mobilization and awareness of black communities. A renowned Afro Costa Rican writer, Campbell Barr is best known for her poem, “Rotundamente negra” (Absolutely Black, 1994). Her work expresses ‘black identity and Costa Rican nationality and exposes the points of discord between two cultural positions’ her work moves through various oral registers and asserts a space for Afro- Costa Ricans in the nation. (Photo by Paty Jimenez)

Merle Collins – Grenada

collins photo 2015

Merle Collins is a writer of fiction and poetry and Professor of Caribbean literature at the University of Maryland. She holds a B.A. from the University of the West Indies, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her publications include novels Angel and The Colour of Forgetting, short story collections Rain Darling and The Ladies are Upstairs, and several poetry collections. Her most recent work is a biography of the first woman governor in the British Commonwealth, Dame Hilda Bynoe. Collins has also produced and directed the D VD , Saracca and Nation, which explores aspects of food culture and ritual in Grenada. She founded the Maryland-based Carivision Community Theatre in 2005 and Grenlib, an organization aimed at supporting repair and refurbishment of Grenada libraries, in 2013. For the conference, she will be discussing her novel Angel which deals with home and conflict, and her film, Saccara and Nation, which is about food, ritual, heritage and home.

Mayra Santos Febres – Puerto Rico


Mayra Santos-Febres is a writer, professor of literature, and literary critic. In 1991, she published her first two collections of poetry, Anamu y manigua and El orden escapado. In 1994, she won the “Letras de Oro” literary Prize, and in 1996, the Juan Rulfo Award for her short story, “Oso blanco”, which centers on the complicated relationships between sexual desire, race, identity, and status in modern Caribbean society. Her first novel is Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000) which focuses on the life of a teenaged drag queen and his rise as a talented singer. Santos-Febres completed her undergraduate work at the University of Puerto Rico and holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her work has been translated into French, English, German, and Italian. Her other publications include such works as Sobre piel y papel (2005), a novel Nuestra Señora de la Noche (2006) which has been published in English under the title Our Lady of the Night, and Fe en disfraz (2009). Her most recent novel is, La amante de Gardel.

Channakeshava G. – India


Channakeshava G is a theatre activist, based in Bangalore, Karnataka. He teaches acting, design and painting. He writes and directs for professional and amateur groups. He has directed more than 35 plays in 6 South Indian languages including English. He is trained as a painter and also in theatre arts. Channakesheva G. is founding trustee of ‘Lokacharita Trust’, a center of Theatre, Literacy, Music, Dance and Films. He runs community theatre activities under ‘Siddi Trust.’ For the conference, he will be translating for Geeta Siddi and Girija Siddi as well as functioning as one of their musicians. (Photo by Sahana)

Nazik Hammad – Sudan

Nazik Hammad photo

Dr. Nazik Hammad, M.D., M.Sc., is a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Sudan.  She has a master degree in immunology from the University of Toronto. She did her internal medicine residency, and hematology/oncology fellowship at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. She was a clinical fellow at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda. She was a faculty member at the Karmanos Cancer Center at Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan. She is currently a faculty member at the Division of Medical Oncology at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, where she is also the program director of the medical oncology training program. Dr. Hammad is a member of the Educational and Training Committee of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) and is currently AORTIC Vice-President for North America. She has a keen interest in medical education, in particular health professions education in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). She also teaches regularly at the University of Khartoum. Dr. Hammad’s research interests include capacity building and social accountability of medical education in low and middle-income countries, in addition to translational research in colorectal cancer.

Malika Ndlovu – South Africa

Malika Inzync Poetry RETHA FERGUSON

Malika Ndlovu is a poet, playwright, and artivist who’s words and productions have appeared all over South Africa and around the world. She has performed in Austria, USA, the UK, Holland, Germany, Ethiopia, and India to name a few. Until 2010 she was project manager for the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry X-Change, an international poetry festival, and is currently guest curator and presenter for, a unique African poetry podcasting platform. Malika was a founder-member of Cape Town-based women writers’ collective WEAVE, co-editor of their anthology Ink @ Boiling Point: A selection of 21st Century Black Women’s writing from the Southern Tip of Africa (2000). Some of her poetry collections include Born in Africa But (1999) Womb to World: A Labour of Love (2001), Truth is both Spirit and Flesh (2008), and two published plays A Coloured Place (1998) and Sister Breyani (2010). In 2015 Malika was nominated in the Promotion of Language and Storytelling category for the Department of Arts and Culture’s national Mbokodo Awards, in recognition of South African women’s contribution to the arts. As an independent artist and in collaboration with artists of various disciplines, Malika offers applied arts facilitation and produces multi-media, site-specific works diverse under the company banner ART on SITE dedicated to “healing through creativity.” (Photo by Retha Ferguson)

Velma Pollard – Jamaica


Velma Pollard is a writer and a retired Senior Lecturer from the University of the West Indies at Mona. She has published four books of poetry from Peepal Tree Press, Leeds (Crown Point and Other Poems 1988, Shame Trees Don’t Grow Here 1992, Leaving Traces 2008, And Caret Bay Again: New and selected poems 2013) and one from Mango Publishing, London ( The Best Philosophers I Know Can’t Read and Write 2001 ). Her prose publications include three collections of short fiction, a novel, Homestretch ( Longman 1994) and a novella, Karl which won the Casa de las Americas prize in 1992. Her academic publications include several articles and two books on language in the Caribbean: Dread Talk: The language of Rastafari and From Jamaica Creole to Standard English.

Lucía Méndez Rivas – Dominican Republic

Lucia Mendez

Lucía Méndez Rivas was born in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. She is a cum laude graduate of Universidad Acción Pro-Educación y Cultura in Commercial Art and also completed postgraduate work in visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. She has completed additional post-graduate work in Afro-Latin Studies at the Catholic University of Santo Domingo.Her first solo exhibition was the inaugural show in the exhibition hall of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1996. She was also featured in the Second Individual Rites Exhibition at the Casa de Italia in 2001. Her work is on permanent display in the Bank of America Building in Washington, D.C. and she has been a part of numerous collective shows including Interpretations at Café Benetton; the XXI Biennial of the Visual Arts at the Museum of Modern Arts in Santo Domingo; the First Exhibition of Feminine String at the Foundation for New Contemporary Art; and 100/Obras/100 Artistas at the Exposición Cultura/Homenaje a Pablo Neruda: Metáfora Sobre Papel, at the Sala Paul Giudicelli de Casa de Teatro.

Luciane Ramos-Silva – Brazil

by Marco Rempel

Luciane Ramos-Silva is a dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, cultural organizer in Brazil. Ramos-Silva holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo, an MA in Social Anthropology and African Studies from University of Campinas. Ramos-Silva is the 2003 recipient of the David C. Driskell Center (USA) for the Study of the African Diaspora Award, where she initiated and developed movement training focusing on blackness and the body in African and African diasporic communities. She leads regular dance training based on multi-corporealities of the Black diaspora and has trained a variety of Brazilian dance and theater companies. Through dance and dance workshops, she illustrates the connection between West Africans and the African American diaspora. For the conference, she will be one of the Artists in Residence during the first week to focus on dance, home, and embodiment through master classes and performance. (Photo by Marco Rempel)

Geeta P. Siddi – India


Geeta P . Siddi completed her Masters in Performing Arts and applied research in Theatre at Bangalore University. She lives in North Karnataka district of Karnataka state. She has acted in and directed more than twenty-five plays. She belongs to Siddi tribal community of Karnataka and is a member of the ‘Siddi Trust.’ She sings and dances Siddi tribal dance called ‘Dhamami.’ (Photo by Channakeshava G.)

Girija P. Siddi – India

Girija P. Siddi

Girija P. Siddi is an actress and Indian Classical Hindustani Vocalist settled in Bangalore but born and raised in North Karnataka district of Karnataka state. She belongs to Siddi tribal community of Karnataka and sings and dances Siddi tribal dance called ‘Dhamami.’ Siddi is an active trustee of the ‘Siddi Trust,’ which works with children’s theatre. The Siddis represent a major element of the conference as they share their struggles for acceptance to an Indian home space for the last 500 years. For the conference, she, along with her sister, Geeta Siddi, will be doing Indian dance performances and storytelling on the Siddis’ experience of national exclusion.(Photo by Channakeshava G.)


Évelyne Trouillot – Haiti


Évelyne Trouillot lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and teaches in the French Department at the State University. She published her first book of short stories in 1996. In 2004, Trouillot received the Prix de la romancière francophone du Club Soroptimist de Grenoble for her first novel, Rosalie l’infâme. In 2005, her first piece for the theater, “Le bleu de l’île,” received the Beaumarchais award from Contemporary Caribbean Theater Scripts (ETC Caraïbe). Trouillot also has published poetry in French and Creole. Her novel La mémoire aux abois (2010), received the prestigious award Le prix Carbet de la Caraibe et du Tout-Monde in December 2010. Her novel, Absences sans frontières (2013), depicts a family in Brooklyn and Port-au-Prince separated by migration. Trouillot’s latest novel Le Rond-Point  was published in Haiti in 2015 and received la Bourse Barbancourt (Merit Scholarship Barbancourt, Haiti) For the conference, she will be speaking with creative writers and discussing notions of citizenship in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a country in which people born of Haitian parents are denied citizenship and documentation.(Photo by Ollivier Marc)

Amanda E. Tumusiime – Uganda

Amanda photo

Amanda E. Tumusiime is a painter, feminist art historian/researcher and senior lecturer at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts Makerere University, Uganda.  She holds a Bachelors of Industrial and Fine Arts (BIFA) and a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) both from Makerere University which background has enabled her to exhibit six solo art exhibitions and participate in over 20 group shows.  Her journey as a feminist art historian/researcher started 12 years at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, where she did a Masters of Arts in Art history (MA) as well as at the University of South Africa where she received her Doctor of Literature and Philosophy  (Dlitt et Phil). As an interdisciplinary researcher she has earned numerous awards including a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 2015-2016, MAK-SIDA Research Training Program Award 2014, The Next Generation of Africa Academics (NGAA) from Carnegie Corporation of New York 2014, The American Council for the Learned Societies- African Humanities Programme (AHP) from Carnegie Corporation of New York 2013, SIDA-SAREC Grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (SAREC) 2008.
Upcoming Events for Dr. Tumusiime:

Spring Reception and Art Exhibit
Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 5:30-7 PM.
Fedex Global Education Center, Room 4003, UNC-CH