Performing the Jewish Archive

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Looking forward through the past: a symposium

Isaac and Jessie Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, Rachel Bloch House, University of Cape Town

  • How does examining the past inform our perceptions of and actions in the present and the future?
  • Can we ever learn from the past, or are we destined to repeat the mistakes of humanity forever?
  • Can the Arts adequately capture stories and narratives from the past?
  • How do we preserve the past when so much evidence is lost, forgotten or fragmented? 
  • Should we even attempt to do so? Can our interpretation and communication of the past ever be ‘authentic’?

These and many other questions have informed a group of composers from the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town as they attempt to take the echoes of the past and project them into the future in a series of newly-composed songs. In this symposium, we examine the practical, ethical and human questions that surround the use of materials from archives, both Jewish and more widely, for the purpose of creating new works of art.

The concept of Looking forward through the past is central to the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Care for the Future theme (under which Performing the Jewish Archive was funded).

Entrance: Free

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