We are delighted to announce Ugandan contemporary artist, dancer and researcher, Robert Ssempijja, as the third Cavendish Arts Science Fellow at Girton College, following selection from a wide-reaching and international Open Call.
Ssempijja will be in residence in Cambridge from January-September 2024, exchanging ideas with physicists at the Cavendish Laboratory and Fellows across multiple disciplines at Girton College.
Ssempijja was selected from an international open call, for his compelling 'regenerative art practice' that moves away from exploitative relationships at every level, making a bridge between the distorted past and the digital present through his creations.
Ssempijja has worked with choreographers, dance companies and festivals across three continents, combining Ugandan traditional dance, breakdance and contemporary dance to develop new aesthetics and art forms.
His work draws on connections at a sensual and sensory level to explore the things that spoken language cannot always explain, and that are too difficult to talk about out loud. He explores the past, present and future in order to re-imagine traditional narratives, and aims to share experiences to take viewers on journeys of self-discovery while confronting decolonial questions about the nature of home and belonging. Ssempijja uses movement to delve deep into the secrets hidden within our bodies, seeking to access new realms of information through the use of time, space and body. His work looks to reshape rhythms, redefining how we see ourselves, our community and our world.
The Mistress of Girton College, Dr Elisabeth Kendall, commented:
“We are very excited to welcome Robert Ssempijja to Girton. Our College has a proud history of breaking new ground, making new connections and acting as a catalyst for change. Ssempijja’s unique approach to expressing past, present and future fits perfectly with our trailblazing ethos.”
Cavendish Arts Science is an initiative of the University of Cambridge, Cavendish Laboratory for Physics. The programme enables encounters between art and science that explore the world, our humanity, and our place in the world. Artists and scientists are encouraged to collaborate to re-imagine ways of exploring material and immaterial universes, question traditional centring of voices, and collectively imagine new possibilities.
The Cavendish Arts Science Fellowship is made possible through a partnership with Girton College, Cambridge (UK) and with the innovatory vision and generous support of Dr Una Ryan. It supports artists to engage with physicists at the Cavendish Laboratory and other disciplines, allowing them time to experiment and transform their creative practice. Artists are selected with creative practices that challenge familiar ways of knowing and thinking, especially through working in communities that are not privileged in the mainstream.
We look forward to welcoming Ssempijja to Cambridge and supporting the conversations that emerge from his encounters.
For more information on Ssempijja, please visit https://www.robertssempijja.com/
Photo Credit: Franke Jacob