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Layla Zami

Adjunct Associate Professor


Dr. Layla Zami is an interdisciplinary and innovative scholar, artist, curator, and consultant. Current activities at Pratt include interdisciplinary research, teaching, and thesis advising in the Departments of Humanities and Media Studies, History of Art and Design, and in the Graduate Program in Performance and Performance Studies. She currently serves on the Institute Curriculum Committee (2020-2022), and believes that higher education should be an inspiring, creative, and positive experience for all.

Zami’s research moves at the intersection of performance studies, art history, cultural memory, languages, diaspora/migration, feminism, and spacetime. She publishes academic and creative writing in English, French, and German, and is proudly presenting her first monograph entitled Contemporary PerforMemory. With this research, Zami obtained her PhD at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany (Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies), where she received the First Prize in the 2017 Teaching Quality Award. She was a Doctoral Fellow in the Jewish Talents Program (ELES/BMBF) and a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University. She also holds a Masters degree from Sciences Po Paris, France’s top-ranking interdisciplinary international research university. Experiences with a social justice focus have included working at the French Parliament as a collaborator to Christiane Taubira, and co-chairing Black Lives Matter at Pratt.

As a Resident Artist with the dance company
Oxana Chi & Ensemble Xinren
, Zami creates and performs music (live-instruments and loop technology), spoken words and physical theater in dialogue with the choreography. Zami is grateful to have performed and presented internationally at conferences, festivals, and theaters in North America, Germany, France, Finland, Taiwan, India, Ghana, Martinique, Indonesia, Turkey, Serbia, and the UK. Residencies with the company have included Abrons Arts Center, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and Maison Rouge : Maison des Arts. Together with Oxana Chi, she is Co-Curator of Dance at the International Human Rights Art Festival. The duo also co-curated the international symposium Festival Moving Memory at the Berlin Technical University and Moving Archives at the Center for the Humanities (CUNY Graduate Center).

Zami also worked as a cinematographer and co-director for the award-winning feature documentary film Dancing Through Gardens. She produced several independent and commissioned poetic documentaries and videopoems for clients including the Berlin Senate, the women’s centre Schokofabrik, the German Antidiscrimination Board, and AfricAvenir International.

Born in Paris in 1985, Zami also lived, studied and worked in Germany, South Africa, Cameroon, and Russia. She understands herself as a citizen of the world grounded in a strong and diverse multicultural heritage spanning four continents, and her open, diligent, and creative mindset shines through all of her academic and artistic endeavors.

2017 – PhD, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
2009 – FilmArche Berlin
2006 – MA/Diploma, Sciences Po Paris
2001 – Saxophone, Conservatoire de Musique, Le Mans, France