Dr Sharifa Abdulla

  • Lecturer in Global Majority Theatre & Performance (Theatre, Film & Television Studies)

telephone: 2746
email: Sharifa.Abdulla@glasgow.ac.uk
pronouns: She/her/hers

Import to contacts


Sharifa is a Lecturer in Global Majority Theatre and Performance within Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. She studied Theatre and Philosophy at the University of Malawi before progressing to do her MA degree with Drama for Life at the University of the Witwatersrand and her PhD with the University of Glasgow. Her PhD thesis sets out a decolonizing methodology for working with indigenous performances, conceptualised as folk media, to explore and represent narratives of HIV and AIDS in rural Malawi.

Her first academic post was with Drama and Theatre Studies in the School of Arts, Communication and Design at the University of Malawi where she taught African Theatre, Theatre for Development and Performance and Cultural studies. Sharifa also led multiple participatory theatre-based interventions for health promotion and research.

Before joining academia, Sharifa was a Theatre for Development practitioner. She was also the co-founder and director of the Art and Global Health Centre Africa (ArtGlo), a local NGO in Malawi, whose work focuses on using participatory Arts to facilitate healthy, open and active communities. Apart from providing overall leadership of the Centre, Sharifa also led the co-design and development of culturally relevant Arts-based methodologies that positioned communities as vital partners and active agents within health interventions. She currently serves on the board of directors of ArtGlo and chairs the Human Resource and Programming sub-committee.

Research interests

Sharifa’s research interests include decolonizing approaches to health research and interventions. Folk media methodologies, Participatory and Dialogical Theatre/Arts Methodologies, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Folk Media, Culture, Performance and Playful Methods for Health Promotion and Research.

Sharifa is currently part of a Lancet commissioned collaboration with the Jameel Arts and Health Lab (a WHO/NYU collaboration) and University of Florida, working on an evidence synthesis examining the role of the arts in health promotion and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the general population. This will form part of the ‘Lancet Global Series on the Health Benefits of the Arts’.