Foto: Goethe-Institut São Paulo

Epistemic Risk: Education

Participation of intellectuals and artists from Latin America and Africa

Latin America has passed through critical moments in the educational context over the past years, like, for example, the student protests in Chile, new demands for universities in Ecuador, experiments with institutions and indigenous knowledge in the Andes region and high school students’ occupation of schools in Brazil. These experiences take shape as a counterpoint to historical experimentations of the relationship between education and society, like the 1918 university reform in Argentina and the Freirean experiment with popular education. The recent protests in schools and universities in South Africa indicate a similar line of questioning and criticisms and allow for an intense exchange between the regions of the South Atlantic.

What happened to the project of the practice of knowledge? How useful are our institutions of knowledge and how well equipped are they to respond to the urgent questions of the contemporary world? What are the epistemological experimentations that can inspire a new generation of intellectuals and transform our focus to the work of knowledge? These questions regarding the critique and practice of contemporary knowledge are at the core of the event “Epistemic Risk: Education,” to be held from August 29th to September 3rd, offering daily interaction between researchers and artists from South Africa and Brazil.

The connecting thread is the student protests that have erupted over the past years around the world. “Epistemic Risk: Education” is a continuation of Summer Conversations: Archives of the Non-Racialism conceived by Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe and anthropologist Kelly Gillespie, which took place in 2014, in Brazil, with the participation of Brazilian, North American and South African researchers.

The program will take place in São Paulo and will consist of as many activities that will be open to the public as will be closed to invited guests in various formats: visits to public elementary schools, open conversations in universities and cultural institutions in São Paulo, as well as a jam session with protest musicians.

TVT Bericht über das „Epistemische Risiko“, Part 1 (in Portuguese)
TVT Bericht über das „Epistemische Risiko“, Part 2 (in Portuguese)

Brian Kamanzi about “Epistemic Risc”​, Part 1 (in English)
Brian Kamanzi about “Epistemic Risc”​, Part 2 (in English)

Kelly Gillespie


South Africa

Kelly Gillespie is a senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand. Gillespie's research interests include criminal justice, legal anthropology, and the notions of history, race, and sexuality in South Africa. Her current work is on intimate violence and its refashioning of the relationship between public and private spheres, as well as of judgment in criminal courts. She will participate in the episode Observatory of the South.

Neo Muyanga

Musician and composer

South Africa

Neo Muyanga works as a conductor and tours with various companies and producers, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Handspring Puppet Company, Paco Pena’s Flamenco, and William Kentridge. In addition to being “resident composer” at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, and at the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) at the University of California, his research focuses on black aesthetics in the genre of opera.

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Neo Muyanga talks about the project Episodes of the South.

Amilcar Packer

Photographer, visual artist, and philosopher


His works in video and photography comment on the limits of the body and its relationship to space. Coordinator of P.A.C.A. (Program for Autonomous Cultural Action); he was nominated for the PIPA Prize in 2012.

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Amilcar Packer talks about the project Episodes of the South.

Suely Rolnik

Psychoanalyst, curator, critic of art and culture


Full professor at PUC-SP, coordinates, among other programs, the Center for Subjectivity Studies and Research.

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Suely Rolnik talks about the project Episodes of the South.

Leigh-ann Naidoo

Researcher and activist

South Africa

Currently a Master’s student in the Wits School of Education. Her research is focused on the formation of a movement of South African students and on the role of education in the construction of political movements.

Naadira Patel

Artist, illustrator, designer

South Africa

Holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Analysis from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, and has participated in residencies in Tehran, Strasbourg, and Dakar, among others. Her work centers around questions concerning technologies of happiness, surveillance, censorship and simulation.

Zen Marie

Professor and artist

South Africa

Professor at the WITS School of Arts in the Division of Fine Arts, completed his Master’s at the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis and is currently producing work for his doctorate in Philosophy at Wits University.

Brian Kamanzi

Student and activist

South Africa

Masters student in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, writes about Pan-Africanism, education, decolonization, educational curricula and social criticism. Is a member of the RhodesMustFall and FeesMustFall movements.

Hibist Kassa

Student and activist

South Africa

Researches Gender and works with the mining communities in Ghana and South Africa. Member of the October 6 workers, movement started by staff and students at Wits University, and also participates in the group African Women United against Destructive Resource Extraction.

Moshibudi Motimele

Student and activist

South Africa

She is a PhD student in political science at Wits University and a TH!NK fellow. Her current research focuses on the following themes: precarious subjectivities, liminalities, political agency and alternate notions of the political.

Rangoato Hlasane

Artist, writer and DJ

South Africa

Co-founder at Keleketla! Library and the annual Molepo Dinaka/Kiba He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and teaches at Wits School of Arts and Wits School of Education.

Thiago de Paula



Pursuing a Masters in History, in the field of non-European Art History, at Unicamp. Co-curator of the exhibit “Living on | In Other Words on Living?” next to Dela Isci, at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Jota Mombaça

Writer and performance artist


Is a non-binary faggot, racialized as brown, born and raised in the northeast of Brazil, who writes, performs and studies academically the relations between monstruosity and humanity, and queer studies among others.

Michelle Mattiuzi



Was expelled by the Universidade Federal da Bahia because of institutional racism. Black, a writer and performer, makes her living with interdisciplinary art. Participated in the 32nd São Paulo Biennial as part of the programming of the Oficina de Imaginação Política (Political Imagination Workshop).

Cassia Quezia



High school student, activist for the black movement, writer for the site Geledes and member of the collective Young Black Women against Racism and Sexism.