Empatheatre wins two Humanities and Social Sciences awards

By Dylan McGarry

Hub researcher Dylan McGarry (Rhodes University, South Africa) has won two awards at the 9th National institute of humanities and social science 2024 (HSS Awards) awards in South Africa. He received an award for ‘Best Digital Humanities for Community Engagement’ with Empatheatre co-creator Mpume Mthombeni for the animated film “Indlela Yokuphila: The Soul’s Journey”. The second award he received in the ‘Best Exhibition catalogue’ category with co-curator Boudina McConnachie (Rhodes University, South Africa), for their exhibition “Our Ocean is Sacred You Can’t Mine Heaven”.

The judges commended Empatheatre and the curatorial teams for ‘outstanding work’ and said the decision for both projects was unanimous. The judges made an additional comment on the catalogue stating: “It is an excellent and unique contribution that is interdisciplinary. The depth of research conducted is innovative and surpasses academic spaces”.

In addition to these two awards, Empatheatre’s recent play, Umkhosi Wenala: Festival of Abundance”, co-created with Hub Deputy Director Philile Mbatha, was also shortlisted for best performance, and got an honorary mention.

Dylan and Mpume’s acceptance speeches honoured the customary rights holders of South Africa who “trusted us with their stories” and went on to celebrate and honour small-scale fishers, the Indigenous and traditional healers and leaders ‘who stand up every day to protect our oceans’. “This award really belongs to our ocean defenders, small-scale fishers, Indigenous healers, customary rights holders, the Coastal Justice Network scholar activists and civil society partners who work in solidarity to ensure more inclusive and equitable access to not only ocean resources, but having a say in ocean decision making” Dylan says.

Dylan, Mpume, Boudina, the Empatheatre team, the animation team from Shells and Spells, are ‘grateful to the One Ocean Hub for supporting ocean humanities work and creating a space for ocean artivism’. 

Related SDGs:

  • Reduced inequality
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Climate action
  • Life below water