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Gratiaen Prize 2016 – Judging Panel


Sasanka Perera - Chairperson

Having been trained as a cultural anthropologist at University of California, Sasanka Perera (Chair of panel) has been with the Department of Sociology, South Asian University and New Delhi since 2011 where he is the founding professor. At present, he is the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Vice President of the University.

His research interests are located in the intersections of contemporary social theory and culture and its politics with a focus on urban space and visual culture. His research and professional interests have enabled him to work in Sri Lanka, USA, Nepal, Japan and India.

He writes in both in his native Sinhala language as well as in English. He edits Society and Culture in South Asia, a bi-annual journal open to scholarship on and from South Asia co-published by South Asian University and Sage. His most recent books, Violence and the Burden of Memory: Remembrance and Erasure in Sinhala Consciousness (Orient Black Swan) and Warzone Tourism in Sri Lanka: Tales from Darker Places in Paradise (Sage) were published in 2016. In his spare time, he writes poetry mostly in the Sinhala language, and engages in blogging, photography and print/online-journalism.

Chandana Dissanayake

Born in Colombo, Chandana Dissanayake spent his early childhood in the mountainous region of Pallebedda, a village bordered by the Ratnapura-Embilipitiya highway. Educated at Royal College, Colombo, Dissanayake entered the University of Colombo as an Arts undergraduate. He graduated with an Honours Degree in English and proceeded to read for an MPhil in English at the University of Kelaniya. This was the first MPhil degree in English awarded in the history of the University of Kelaniya the second in the history of all universities in Sri Lanka.

An Accredited Senior Teacher in Higher Education (ASTHE), Dissanayake currently serves the Sabaragamuwa University in Belihuloya in the capacity of Senior Lecturer (English), where he was instrumental in setting up the Department of Languages and served as its Head between 1999-2002. He teaches literatures in English and Sociolinguistics at SUSL. Dissanayake’s interests extend to creative writing and two of his short stories were awarded First Prize at The Observer All Island Short Story Competition, 1986 and the Festival of Arts – University of Colombo, 1992.

Ruhanie Perera

Ruhanie Perera is a performer, performance-maker and lecturer working in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is a founding member of Floating Space Theatre Company, and works at the Department of English, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Ruhanie’s recent work as a performer includes Forgetting November (Harold Pieris Gallery, Colombo 2015); Inscribing Her (Theertha Performance Platform, Colombo 2015; International Art Critics’ Association Seminar – Unpacking Multiple Identities within Gender Based Art, Colombo 2013); Somewhere Between Truth and its Telling (Stranger Than Fiction, London 2012); and My Other History (Colombo 2011 and Galle, Jaffna and Kandy 2012).

Ruhanie also works as a researcher and curator in performance and visual art contexts, creating conversations across practice. Most recently she worked as curatorial advisor for the artistic research initiative and travelling exhibition ‘A Tale of Two Cities – Varanasi, India and Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’ (2015-2017), which opened at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa (December 2016).

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