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About this event

Join us for this second online event, supported by the ICS-School of Advanced Study Fellowship, in a series of discussion workshops exploring migration and Blackness in Northeast African diaspora communities through ancient Greek storytelling.

In this online workshop we will be exploring:

  • Modern dramatic performances of ancient ‘Aithiopian’ figures from Greek myth

  • The power of storytelling: oral and literary traditional

  • Gender and marginality

  • Perilous journeys: modern Ethiopian-Eritrean experiences of migration


Actors of Dionysus (aod) Tamsin Shasha – Artistic Director

Founded in 1993, Actors of Dionysus is an award-winning charity and national touring company that specializes in creating innovative versions of ancient Greek drama and new writing inspired by myth. The theatre company is unique in the UK in that they are the only company solely dedicated to exploring this rich canon of work through a rigorous approach that marries academic understanding with artistic vision. aod has performed nationally and internationally in both theatres, arts centres, festivals and outdoor spaces as well as in schools, colleges and universities.

Their mission is to ‘make magic from myth’ by exploring modern issues through the lens of ancient Greek drama, thereby connecting with current political, environmental and cultural shifts.

Since 2018, aod’s free workshop programme has reached over a thousand young people in state funded schools across the UK, building historical knowledge, team skills and self-confidence. During lockdown aod adapted their outreach support to an online platform providing more than 30 digital workshops free to State funded schools, providing important free educational resources.

Actors of Dionysus has also produced an award-winning online series called #MiniMyth (formerly #DailyDose) which provided regular digital content for social media, including readings, music, dance, circus, animation and graphic art, not to mention escape rooms and quizzes.

Their work is available on the digital platform Digital Theatre Plus, alongside RSC and Complicité.

Dr Serawit Bekele Debele is a Junior Research Group Leader at the Africa-Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Her work focuses on moments of socio-political change in Africa asking what possibilities these moments might afford non-normative sexualities and genders. Her ongoing project focuses on Ethiopia, Tunisia and Sudan. She is the author of the book Locating Politics in Ethiopia’s Irreecha Ritual (Brill, 2019). Her articles have appeared in journals such as History of the Present, The Journal of African History, and African StudiesTogether with Stephanie Lämmert and Yusuf Serunkuma, she is working on the Volkswagen funded project that examines German African Studies through the lens of critical race theory.

Professor Ghirmai Negash is a Professor of English & African Literature and also serves as the Director of the African Studies Program at Ohio University. He founded and chaired the Department of Eritrean Languages and Literature at the University of Asmara from 2001 to 2005. His research interests include modern African literature from the Horn of Africa and South Africa, critical theory, translation, and orature and literature in indigenous African languages. He has authored and edited eight books, including A History of Tigrinya Literature in Eritrea, 1890-1919 (1999), and "The Conscript," which is the first Tigrinya novel translated into English. His articles and essays have been featured in journals such as MLA, Research in African Literatures, Biography, and Imbizo. He is a member of the African Academy of Sciences and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS). Negash was a convener of the Annual Conference of the African Literature Association in 2011 and 2022 and served as the African Literature Association President in 2020-2021.

Prof. Sarah Singer, Refugee Law Initiative

Sarah Singer is a Professor of Refugee Law at the Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is an internationally recognised expert on criminality and asylum, and her contributions to the broader forced migration field include publications on European asylum law, humanitarian accountability, immigration detention and the protection of LGBT asylum seekers. She has led major collaborative interdisciplinary research projects, acted as expert commentator for various media outlets including BBC World News and is a recognised expert on postgraduate online education. She is inaugural Programme Director of the distance-learning MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies and co-convenes the ‘Refugees in the 21st Century’ MOOC (Coursera). 

Chair: Dr Mai Musié

Mai is an ancient historian and a public engagement professional. She is currently an Inclusion, Participation and Engagement Fellow at the Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, and works with Swansea University and University of Oxford on impact and engagement activities and projects.
Mai’s research explores race and ethnicity in the ancient world, investigating how the ‘other’ is represented in ancient Greek and Roman literary sources. She is passionate about exploring the interconnectivity between the ancient Mediterranean world and northeast Africa. She has organised and consulted on history and heritage projects that foster co-curation, co-production, and building equitable relationships between communities and researchers. 
Mai is well known for her public engagement and outreach work and was awarded the 2019 Classical Association Prize, given each year to the individual who has done the most to raise the profile of Classics in the public eye. She enjoys communicating the stories of the ancient world for modern audiences through tv, radio, podcasts, and interviewing writers and actors. 

Mai is a trustee of: Classics for All , the Roman Society, and Actors of Dionysus.