A conference held at Hinxton Hall, Wellcome Trust Conference Centre, UK
This conference seeks to open a conversation on forms of possibility and violence that are enabled and take effect through dreams of health and science in Africa. Dreams are often of transformation, critical of the present and articulating alternative and imaginative futures towards which expertise, knowledge and care might lead. Dreams can also engender violence and turn into nightmares. Aspirations to health and advancement can be stoked as fictions while their achievement is systematically postponed, or trivialised as pipe-dreams, whittling down science and medicine to fit the present tense of urgent priorities and scarce resources. Dreams can also clash with each other, sparking violent contests over the future. Through dreams good and bad, deferred, broken or attained, reached for and pushed out of reach, tenacious and erased, forgotten and rekindled, we propose to explore emerging and future possibilities for the study of medicine and science in Africa.
We ask: can dreams help us reopen and critically examine the past and potential horizons of possibility that have animated bio-scientific activity in Africa? Dreaming and recapturing dreams together as historians, anthropologists, geographers, scientists, architects and artists will animate connections between politics and aesthetics, affective relations and materiality, suggesting paths ahead for interdisciplinary inquiry. How can we understand which, how and why futures for African science and health have been delayed, narrowed and closed off, and to expand the boundaries, of time and possibility, of current imaginations beyond the constraints of “global health”?