Announcing our new playwrights-in-residence

Raman Mundair and Apphia Campbell

Following a high volume of exciting and thought-provoking applications, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Traverse Theatre are delighted to announce their 2021 Creative Fellows: Raman Mundair (IASH/Traverse Digital Fellow) and Apphia Campbell (IASH/Traverse Playwriting Fellow).

The piece which Raman will be developing during her Fellowship (May-July) is a multi-platform storytelling experience employing film, soundscapes and social media which she describes as a 'theatre-film'. Using this range of digital technologies, she will tell a timely story exploring the history of Black and Brown bodies in the Shetland landscape, challenging preconceived notions of who is a Shetlander, who is Scottish, who is British and who is European. Raman is an Indian-born, Queer, British Asian writer, director, dramaturg, artist and filmmaker based in Shetland and Glasgow. She is the award winning author of Lovers, Liars, Conjurers and Thieves,A Choreographer’s Cartography, The Algebra of Freedom (a play) and is the editor of Incoming: Some Shetland Voices. She is a Scottish Book Trust IGNITE fellow. Her short film Grafitti is under script development as part of the CONVERGENCE BFI programme. Her short film Trowie Buckie was shortlisted for Sharp Shorts 2020. Raman is an ALL3Media Scholarship winner and a graduate of the National Film and Television School. She has been invited by BBC writers room to be part of their Scottish Drama Writers Programme 2020 initiative. She was shortlisted as a writer and director for Sharp Shorts. Tramway, Glasgow commissioned three new experimental artist films which debuted on the Tramway TV initiative. She is currently a dramaturg and mentor for Scottish Youth Theatre on the Stories 2020 project. She is a Margaret Tait Award 2021/2022 longlist nominee. Raman was longlisted for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative Award and is a winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Award and a Leverhulme Fellowship.

She is an intersectional feminist and as an activist she has worked on a grass roots level against anti racism, anti fascism, state violence, No Borders, and against gender based, domestic and sexual violence. Her work is socially and politically observant, bold, mischievous, cutting edge and potent with poetic imagery and integrity. Her writing plays with the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class and challenges notions of British and colonial histories and identities. Raman's work focuses on the experiences, knowledges and life-worlds of people of colour and reframes their experience from a fresh, new perspective. She has published poetry, fiction, drama and non-fiction and has performed and exhibited her artwork around the world from Aberdeen to Zimbabwe. She presents the Intersectional Voices (IV) podcast.

Apphia's Fellowship runs from August 2021 to January 2022. Her work will blend storytelling and gospel music to depict happens when a tight-knit American community is rocked by harrowing truths coming out about its charismatic leader, and how those he brought together struggle with their collective identity as a result. She is originally from the United States, and graduated from Florida International University with a BFA in theatre performance. In 2013 Apphia wrote her critically acclaimed piece, Black Is The Color Of My Voice and opened in Shanghai to rave reviews before performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014 where it sold out and has been touring the UK; selling out in prestigious houses such as St. James Theatre, Wilton’s Music Hall, and Oxford Playhouse. In 2017, her new show with Meredith Yarbrough, Woke, was presented as part of the Made In Scotland Showcase, won a Scotsman Fringe First, a Highly Commended award from Amnesty International, and was shortlisted for The Filipa Bragança Award and Scottish Art Club Theatre Award. In 2018, she continued to tour Woke and was featured in the Guardian's '50 Shows to See at the Fringe' and Vogue’s '5 Shows Not to Miss' at the 2018 Fringe. In 2018, she also became a member of the BBC Writers' Room (a group chosen for one year tutelage with the BBC). In 2019, she made her West End debut with Black Is The Color Of My Voice which had rave reviews and a sold-out run at Trafalgar Studios. She also had a London premiere of Woke at the prestigious Battersea Arts Centre. In the same year she appeared in the BBC's 'The Novels that Shaped the World' for The Handmaid's Tale segment and in an episode of Urban Myths: Orson Welles with Robbie Coltrane. In 2019, she also received her first commission from the BBC for a children’s story, called Zachary The Zebroid which aired in February 2020. She also wrote Birdie’s Dilemma for Scenes for Survival, which premiered on the BBC in collaboration with National Theatre of Scotland. She was one of six writers who wrote for the National Theatre of Scotland’s Christmas show Rapunzel. In 2020, she was also elected to the board of the Edinburgh Fringe Society where she’ll be representing artist concerns and needs for the next two years.

The work of both playwrights will feature as part of IASH's forthcoming three-year programme of research, the Institute Project on Decoloniality 2021-24 (IPD’24). This project offers £750,000 in funding for scholars from around the world to visit Edinburgh and explore issues such as decolonising the curriculum; neo-colonialism; Scotland’s role in the British Empire; reparations; the University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy and alumni roles in the slave trade; and the histories of Edinburgh graduates and staff of colour.