"I was compelled by the interdisciplinarity of the PhD program for Contemporary Arts, and the focus it has on multi-modal contexts to the dissemination of art making and research. Also, the fact that art and technology are under one faculty obliged me to choose SFU."

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Student Profile: Edward Sembatya

March 10, 2022
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Contemporary Arts doctoral student in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

I am a versatile Ugandan dance practitioner, choreographer, educator and drummer (Uganda drums). My artistic works and research extensively draw inspiration from the contemporary everyday life, and the rich knowledge and skills embedded in indigenous East African dances, (Ugandan in particular), music and tales. As such, I love creating dance together with music and tales as a tool for positive social change. I am currently pursuing my PhD in Contemporary Arts (Dance major) at SFU, Vancouver campus. I hold a master’s degree from Choreomundus, an international program offered by a consortium of four Universities, NTNU(Norway), Roehampton (UK), Szeged (Hungary), Clermont Auvergne (France)

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose SFU for quite many reasons but I will give only two. I was compelled by the interdisciplinarity of the PhD program for Contemporary Arts, and the focus it has on multi-modal contexts to the dissemination of art making and research. Also, the fact that art and technology are under one faculty obliged me to choose SFU. It is not so common; thus, I would like to better my artistry through technological application.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

I describe to them that my research looks at the exploration, deconstruction, re-enactment and reshaping of the socio-historical knowledge, narratives, practices and traditions embedded in East African indigenous dances (Uganda in particular) into new performative contemporary theatrical dance practices. As such, my areas of interest are; Dance and activism, Dance as Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), Contemporary Arts, dance diversification and decolonisation, interculturalism, and dance identity and ownership

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I enjoy being in the same milieu with diverse ambitious Art makers, scholars, programmers and appreciators. They keep me learning, growing and discovering new potency in the field of art. But most importantly, I enjoy the richness of diverse approaches these artists employ in their artistry.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

Yes, I received a scholarship from the Norwegian College of Dance to pursue my three years Bachelor’s degree at the College, and my two years Master’s Degree at NTNU(Norway), Roehampton (UK), Szeged (Hungary), Clermont Auvergne (France). As I foresaid, every post-secondary level I went through was fully sponsored and this contributed hugely toward my growth as an artist in terms of creativity, morally and intellectually. Above all, I am still expanding my learning scope as a PhD candidate at SFU with the support from the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship, GPS Graduate Fellowship, Special Graduate Fellowship and DPS Graduate Fellowship.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

I describe to them that Practice-based PhD at SFU integrates both practical and theoretical approaches of learning.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

I am so far grateful for the moral, supervision, comradeship and intellectual support from SFU Faculty, students and non-teaching staff.

 

Contact : esa84@sfu.ca

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