Transmission in Motion


20 March 2024
15:00 - 17:00
Muntstraat 2A, 3512EV Utrecht (Grote Zaal)

[Event Postponed] “Researching performance in the wake: Commitment to a healing labour” – Anika Marschall (UU)

This seminar session has been canceled and is being rescheduled.


Wake: the track left on the water’s surface by a ship; the disturbance caused by a body swimming or moved, in water; it is the air currents behind a body in flight; a region of disturbed flow. (Sharpe 2016: 3)

Wake; the state of wakefulness; consciousness. (4)

Wake: grief, celebration, memory, and those among the living who, through ritual, mourn their passing and celebrate their life in particular the watching of relatives and friends beside the body of the dead person from death to burial and the drinking, feasting, and other observances incidental to this. (11)


This seminar offers an associative, humble dialogue with Christina Sharpe’s seminal work In the Wake: On Blackness and Being and performances which perform “wake work”, in particular the durational performances We’re Magic We’re Real #3 (These Walls) by Jeannette Ehlers (2022) and Anadyomene by Phyllis Akinyi (2022) in the specific context of postcolonial Denmark. In what ways do these performances  resist, rupture and disrupt the everyday imminence of Black death in Northern Europe? How do these performances make us imagine ways of knowing that contend with the continuing legacies of colonialism and racist border violence?

Some propositions (or calls to action): Performances which perform “wake work” offer communal rituals to mourn absent bodies, the drownings in and ongoing crossings of the Mediterranean Sea. Performances which perform “wake work” defy the violence against forced migrants on the move all over the African continent and also on the move to Germany, Greece, Denmark etc. Performances which perform “wake work” testify to everyday kin work against the imminence of Black death and attend to living in the aftermath of slavery. Performances which perform “wake work” celebrate diasporan life insisted from death. Performances which perform “wake work” make us differently conscious, they exceed the knowledges of study, the modes and methods of scientific research in academia.


Dr. Anika Marschall (she/her) works as Assistant Professor in Performance, Institutions & Societal Transformation at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University, where she also co-coordinates the MA Contemporary Theatre, Dance and Dramaturgy. She holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow, and she teaches, writes about and intervenes in issues concerning performance, migration and racialisation. Anika, in collaboration with Dr. Ann-Christine Simke was recently awarded a Research Collaboration Grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh for her project “Towards racial literacy in European theatre”. Her latest publications include the research monograph Performing Human Rights: Artistic Interventions into European Asylum (Routledge 2023), a reflection on decentering whiteness in German theatre and performance studies (Global Performance Studies Vol.5 (1-2), 2022), and a critical analysis of Forensic Architecture’s investigation into the murder of Halit Yozgat (Theatre Research International Vol.47(2), 2022), among others. Currently, she is working towards a co-authored monograph on Intersectional Theatre Practices (to be published by Cambridge University Press), and juggling her drive for critical thinking, love for teaching student and the messy but beautiful care work as a new mom.

You can register by sending an email to, or via Eventbrite.

**This session is part of the Transmission in Motion seminar (2023-2024): “Matters of Concern.” To stay updated with more seminar sessions, please subscribe to our newsletter.