2023 DSA Bursary for Minoritized South Asian Dance Artists/Scholars 

DSA was approached by Social Justice for South Asian Dance Collective - a group of South Asian dance scholars who donated $1500 USD to fund a 2023 DSA Bursary for Minoritized South Asian Dance Artists/Scholars.

This bursary will firstly recognize the complex layers of minoritizations that exist within South Asian dance studies, itself a minoritized sub-field; secondly, it will go some initial way to redress these marginalizations in material terms; and, finally, it will support DSA’s commitment to the internationalization of the field.

With this bursary, the DSA Board hears the call to mobilize our verbal promises of equity over the last few years into material action. This one-year pilot bursary is a model for future years. It is indeed a first step, and the Board is committed to next steps that similarly match value with material action in 2024 and beyond.

Please consider donating now towards the full funding of the 2023 DSA Bursary for Minoritized South Asian Dance Artists/Scholars. The Collective seeded this fund but we ask for your direct support as an act of reciprocal care and concrete action. 

We also encourage DSA members to put forward initiatives and fundraise for other similar equity-driven schemes. 


2023 Awardee: Shumaila Hemani

Shumaila Hemani, Ph.D. is a critic in the field of music and dance studies and the Liaison Officer for Pakistan at the International Council of the Study of Music and Dance (ICTMD) since 2016. She has widely shared her research on Pakistan’s dance ensemble at the ICTMD’s and SEM’s annual conferences. As a former mentee of Prof. Regula Burckhardt Qureshi, Hemani’s work on politics of dance patronage in Pakistan breaks new grounds in dance research and the DSA BURSARY supports her in publishing this research. 

Description: DSA recognizes the deeply rooted and complex processes of minoritizations that exist within the subfield of South Asian dance studies across the lines of caste, class, Adivasi and tribal identity, disability, gender, regional geo-politics, religion, and sexuality. These manifest as distinct under-representations of, for instance, Dalit, Bahujan, OBC, Adivasi and tribal scholars; disabled and neurodivergent scholars; non-binary, trans, and queer scholars; scholars from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kashmir, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, North-East India, Indo-Caribbean, Indo-Fijian, and other peripheralized diasporas; and Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsi, and Jain scholars. These under-representations are further exacerbated at the intersections of one or more of these minoritized identity positions. As a result, there is a hegemony in South Asian dance studies of cis-gender, class-privileged, dominant caste, heterosexual, Hindu, secular, non-disabled, and urban dance scholars and artists from India and the UK, US, Australia, and Canada. This creates an uneven field where minoritized voices from South Asia and South Asian diasporas at large are marginalized in dance studies.

This bursary aims to address these asymmetries and promote greater equity in the field.

  • This pilot year, DSA will offer bursaries of a maximum of $1000 USD per person to support and enhance the careers of up to 3 minoritized South Asian heritage dance artists and/or scholars who are located in South Asia or its diasporas.
  • These bursaries may be used to support artistic practice; fund travel, accommodation, and visa costs to attend and/or present at DSA conferences; curate local symposia and create community; support publication costs; and other equivalent and suitable expenses via negotiation with DSA.
  • DSA will also consider reimbursing costs that have been incurred in the 6 calendar months prior to the submission of the bursary application.
  • The bursary applications will have a rolling deadline throughout 2023 to maximize flexibility and access.
  • DSA will maintain anonymity on all public platforms, should a bursary awardee wish to not reveal their name.

Eligibility: This bursary is designed for all self-identified South Asian heritage dance artists/scholars who are located in South Asia or its diasporas, and who face systemic minoritizations along the lines of caste, Adivasi and tribal identity, class, disability, non-binary and trans identity, regional geo-politics, religion and sexuality, as noted in the description above.

While the bursary will prioritize applications from caste-oppressed communities and Adivasi and tribal peoples, it will generally take into consideration those who face the greatest barriers/obstacles to resources and access in dance studies along intersectional lines.

Bursary Application Form: Email as single PDF to [email protected]. Applicants should expect a response no later than one-month from submission.

The application form consists of four short questions with a maximum of 200 words to respond to each question:

  1. What are the systemic barriers that you face in your artistic/academic career currently?
  2. How will this bursary advance your artistic/academic career?
  3. How will you participate with the DSA community as a result of this bursary?
  4. Please provide a detailed breakdown of your budget up to a maximum of $1000.