No Man’s Land
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Akademi, in collaboration with the ICA, presented ‘No Man’s Land – Exploring South Asianness’ on Saturday, 22 May 2004. Supported by decibel, the Arts Council England, Asians in Media and Air India, the event drew approximately 150 people to the ICA to hear a diverse and international group of scholars, journalists and artists grapple with the notion of ‘South Asianness’.
Following the success of its ‘South Asian Aesthetics Unwrapped!’ conference at the Royal Opera House in March 2002, Akademi wanted to examine the very idea of ‘South Asianness’: a concept that is said to underlie a panoply of cultural, artistic and political products, including identity construction in the diaspora. Akademi, therefore, offered a platform where artistic, political and academic ideas could be freely exchanged, thus broadening the discourse and its audiences along the way.
The panel consisted of Shobana Jeyasingh (dancer, choreographer), Sunil Khilnani (Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Washington), Daud Ali (School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London), Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (The Independent), Jeevan Deol (St John’s College, Cambridge), Pavan Varma (Nehru Centre), Late Andrée Grau (Roehampton University of Surrey/ AHRB Centre for Cross Cultural Music and Dance Performance), Keith Khan (motiroti), Sanjay Sharma (School of Cultural & Innovation Studies, University of East London), Parminder Vir (Carlton Television), and Sanjoy Roy (The Guardian).