Contact person:
Oscar Hemer
  • The Swedish Research Council
Responsible at MaU:
Oscar Hemer
Collaborators and other project members:
  • Rose Brander (University of Gothenburg)
  • Kerry Bystrom (Bard College Berlin)
  • Jacob Dlamini (Princeton University)
  • Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo)
  • Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • Jyoti Mistry (University of Gothenburg)
  • Masande Ntshanga (Rhodes University)
  • Cheryl Stobie (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
  • Ivan Vladislavic (University of the Witwatersrand)
Time frame:
01 January 2022 - 31 December 2022
Research environment :
Research subject:
If a rush of troubled stories is the best way to tell about contaminated diversity, then it’s time to make that rush part of our knowledge practices.

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

When people speak for an ideal of cultural purity, sustaining the authentic culture of the Asante or the American family farm, I find myself drawn to contamination as the name for a counter-ideal.

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Mélange, hotchpotch, a bit of this and a bit of that is how newness enters the world. It is the great possibility that mass migration gives the world.

Salman Rushdie

About the project

Conviviality and Contamination is an artistic research project funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) and led by Oscar Hemer, Professor of Journalistic and Literary Creation at Malmö University. The project aims to explore the concept of conviviality (Gilroy, 2004), through the literary tradition of contamination, inspired by the work of philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah (2006). The project has emerged from a number of previous successful collaborations and networks, including the edited volume Conviviality at the Crossroads (2020) and the collaborative research group on Precarity and Conviviality (2019), part of the South Africa Sweden University Forum (SASUF). At the heart of the project is a series of collaborative workshops due to take place in September and October 2022 in Malmö and Berlin, which will bring together a small group of partners with expertise spanning various forms of creative, academic and literary practice. Most of the project partners have a connection to South Africa, and some of these connections may surface in the resulting work.


The project will also host a series of literary and academic events in September and October 2022, at the Gothenburg Book Fair, Malmö University and Bard College Berlin. The project will be launched at Malmö University on 28 September, in partnership with the REDEM research platform and the Communication for Development master’s course. These events will explore some of the intersections between literary, scholarly and political engagement.


Through experimental, interdisciplinary and international collaboration, the project is expected to result in a diverse and multi-layered body of work, which will explore the key themes not only through content but also through process and form. The Conviviality and Contamination project is working in partnership with PARSE Journal (Platform for Artistic Research Sweden), towards a special issue due for publication in Spring 2023. This route of publication opens up new possibilities, not only to incorporate elements of visual, audio or film material but also to illuminate the collaborative creative process by documenting work in progress.

PARSE Journal

Project leader Oscar Hemer is in parallel working on a monograph with the working title 'Speculative Anthropology: A Literary History of Contamination'.