Interview with Layla Zami

Dr. Layla Zami (Paris, 1985) is an interdisciplinary academic and artist, whose work orbits around matters of dance/performance/corporeality; cultural memory/trauma; gender/sexuality; diaspora/race/migration; and space-time. She is a 2019 Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute, teaching in the Performance + Performance Studies Graduate Program. Zami obtained a Ph.D. (2018) from the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at Humboldt-University, in Berlin, Germany, with a dissertation entitled Contemporary PerforMemory: Moving Through Diasporic Dancescapes in the 21st Century. She received the Humboldt-University’s Faculty of Humanities Teaching Award (First Prize). She also holds a bilingual M.A. from the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (2006), and worked for Christiane Taubira at the French National Assembly. A former Visiting Scholar at Columbia University and UCSD, Zami published in German, English and French in peer-reviewed anthologies and journals. As a Resident Artist (music, spoken words, physical theater) with Oxana Chi & Ensemble Xinren, Layla Zami has presented and performed at universities, festivals and theaters in the USA, Canada, France, Martinique, India, Taiwan, Turkey, Indonesia, Ghana, Finland, the UK, Ghana and all across Germany. Main feminist collaborations with Oxana Chi include the performance I Step On Air dedicated to Ghanian-German feminist poet and activist May Ayim; the documentary Dancing Through Gardens dedicated to Chinese-Jewish-Russian dancer Tatjana Barbakoff as well as the international symposium-festival “Moving Memory”. Together with her wife Oxana Chi, Layla Zami is a Co-Curator of dance for the 2019 International Human Rights Art Festival in NYC.