Loughborough University: Radar wins funding from British Council for Archiving as Creative Practice project

The University’s art research programme, Radar, and Visual Arts Network South Africa (VANSA), have received funding for their collaborative archive project, allowing them to appoint Archive Fellow, Mkutaji Wa Nija.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and this grant will support Mkutaji’s work on ‘Archiving as a Creative Practice’. As Archive Fellow, Mkutaji will explore VANSA’s fifteen-year archive of arts activity in Africa. This work will inform the development of a toolkit which will focus on archiving and presentation techniques that can be used by artists and arts organisations, widening access to VANSA’s important archive. Mkutaji will also engage with an archive-focussed art commission from British Namibian artist Libita Sibungu

Finally, a series of six online seminars co-hosted by Radar and VANSA will further enrich and disseminate Mkutaji’s work. The seminars will investigate the ethics, possibilities and challenges of creative engagement with archives. They will facilitate the two-way transfer of experience, methods and knowledge between South Africa and the United Kingdom as well as the development of best practices.

Mkutaji’s work is multidisciplinary and she uses art as a tool to release the bounds of her curiosity. Her work branches across various disciplines with her current focus being creative research, writing, archiving, movement and creative direction. Her educational background is in spatial design and philosophy, recently completing her MPhil in African Studies at the Institute of African Studies in Accra, Ghana. She has written for various organisations such as Nubuke Foundation’s New Dawn and The House of Kuumba Creative Hub. Her creative direction and movement projects have been staged on various stages including Alliance Francaise Accra.

Radar is a commissioning and research programme based at Loughborough University which creates opportunities for artists to work in collaboration with academic researchers.

VANSA is a national development agency for contemporary art practice in South Africa with a membership of just over 7,000 artists and art organisations. They develop industry knowledge, resources, networks and projects that are concerned with realising new social, cultural and economic possibilities for contemporary art practice in the South African – and wider African – context.

The British Council build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. They are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.