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  • PACE

PACE Entangled - Tuesday 25 August 2020

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Delegates from around the world met from 25-29 August on Zoom and Airmeet to connect, exchange and share their work to a global network of producers, artists, collaborators and funders

Panel: Connecting Africa - Platforms on the continent and beyond

Panel Members


Gregory Maqoma

South Africa

Gregory Vuyani Maqoma became interested in dance in the late 1980s as a means to escape the political tensions growing in his place of birth, South Africa - Soweto. He started his formal dance training in 1990 at Moving Into Dance wherein 2002 he became the Associate Artistic Director. Maqoma has established himself as an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher and director. He founded Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) in 1999 when he was undertaking a scholarship at the Performing Arts Research and Training School (PARTS) in Belgium under the direction of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

Maqoma is respected for his collaborations with artists of his generation like Akram Khan, Vincent Mantsoe, Faustin Linyekula, Shanell Winlock, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Theatre Director’s /James Ngcobo and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

In 2019 Maqoma Collaborated with Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah in the production “Tree” produced by Manchester International Festival and the Young Vic. In 2020 Maqoma was honoured by the International Theatre Institute in partnership with UNESCO to be the author of the prestigious International Dance Day Message. Maqoma is currently writing his memoire based on his 30 year history of performance to over 100 cities in the world.

Gacirah DIAGNE


Dancer, choregrapher, cultural promoter, Senegalo-Somalian Gacirah Diagne has been evolving in the field of Dance for over 30 years. Trained in African dance, afro jazz, ballet and contemporary dance in various dance institutions in Dakar, Paris and New York, among which the Alvin Ailey Dance Center, she returns to Senegal in 2001 after a few years spent in the United States, where she pursued a dance career (Urban Bush Women, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Mzawa Dance, etc.).

She’s exploring choreography since 1999. Her pieces are presented in the US, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger and Senegal. In 2011, she founded the first hip hop dance company in Senegal. She acquired cultural administration experience in renowned US and Senegalese cultural organizations and was appointed Technical Counselor in charge of Urban Cultures at the Ministry of Culture of Senegal between 2012 and 2014.

For the past fifteen years, she’s the artistic director of events such as Festival Kaay Fecc, Battle National – Danse Hip Hop, Urbanation BBoy within the frame of the Association Kaay Fecc mission.

Sheba Hirst


Sheba Hirst is the co-owner and Managing Director of Rainmaker Productions. She is a long-time arts producer in Kenya and now serves as the Director of the Nairobi Film Festival. She has also directed and produced the Sawa Sawa Festival in Nairobi to celebrate Kenyan performing arts. From 2005-2008, she was the Director of the Sarakasi Trust, dedicated to the study and performance of acrobatic arts. She graduated from Wellesley College in 2002 with a B.A. in Political Science. She and her husband Eric Wainaina live in Nairobi with their two children Seben and Neo.

Karishma Bhagani


Karishma is a director, producer, dramaturg and emerging scholar. Born and bred in Mombasa, Kenya, Karishma has a keen interest in expanding the arts sector within East Africa. Her research interests include understanding the political, spiritual and mythological seeds of performance tradition around the African continent.

Karishma is currently a fellow of the Georgetown Lab for Global Performance and Politics and also serves as the Associate Artistic Director of the Tebere Arts Foundation in Uganda. She is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick


Olayinka Jacobs-Bonnick is a cultural industry strategist, with a background of over 20 years working in the cultural and creative enterprise development sector. She is the founder of the South-South Collective, an art and culture led B2B collaboration platform, that connects creative & cultural practitioners across the 134 countries of the Global South, through international convenings, collaborations and business opportunities.

Olayinka is the former British Council Country Director for Jamaica and Director Caribbean, a trained art historian, textile designer, and a creative industries international development consultant, with a client portfolio that includes Caribbean governments, ACP/EU UNESCO, and the World Bank.

Ouafa Belgacem


Ouafa is an expert in Resources Mobilization and sustainability and a researcher interested in topics related to arts and culture funding, cultural policies and art financial engineering. She is the founder and CEO of Culture Funding Watch the leading Cultural and Creative Industries financing intelligence platform in the MENA and Africa regions. CFW offers support to financers and CC entrepreneurs on how to strategises and raise resources. She is also the initiator of the the cultural and creative enterprises global index. She holds four Masters degrees in History, Archaeology, MBA and Heritage Management. She has work experience in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Prior to founding Culture Funding Watch, she worked with Oxfam GB as Regional Funding Coordinator in Myanmar and West Africa. Previously she worked with SNV in Laos as Senior Business Development Advisor and as Assistant to the Head of Finance and Contract Section for the European Commission Delegation in Cairo. Ouafa was also assigned as head of fundraising unit within the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt. She is the writer of several global reports: UNESCO special report on creative economy 2013, Compendium of cultural policies in the Arab region 2010, CS report on 2005 convention 2019, Cultural policy in the MENA region (UNESCO) 2019. She is a board member of the CS interim steering committee for the UNESCO 2005 convention, Vise President of Tunisians startup association.

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