The Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) and Asia Art Archive (AAA) in India are pleased to announce the SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Archiving Histories of Art, Ideas, and Visual Culture 2022. This grant, which marks the fourth year of collaboration between SSAF and AAA in India, emerges from AAA’s ongoing endeavour to digitise, document, and make publicly accessible recent histories of art in the region by deploying a range of innovative archival practices and research methods. This grant is in line with SSAF’s commitment to work with cross-disciplinary initiatives that address the often difficult and sometimes endangered conditions of informal archiving, the challenges posed by the fugitive political conditions of their assembly and use, and the possible links of such materials with alternative and heterodox practices in the arts and in intellectual work.

The grant aims to:

  • Encourage the use of innovative methodologies for purposes of identifying, documenting, researching, and annotating materials that have hitherto been inaccessible in the public domain and are often fugitive, for reasons often political in nature. This could result in the creation of an archive that is transformational of our existing understanding of that field.
  • Open up research avenues into histories that are viewed as a constituent part of wider discursive fields, specific regional milieus, and the politics of image-making and circulation.
  • Support projects that consider both the long-term and short-term consequences of making such materials publicly available in all its pulsating vitality, and the possible forms these will take.
  • Support innovative modes of reading and interpreting the materials that emerge from recognition of their locational importance.

Applicants are encouraged to suggest new connections between print cultures, intellectual histories, the visual arts, and marginalised social, political, and cultural movements; lay new trails for unpacking the archive that is consolidated under the purview of the grant; and propose the form of the outcome that such research will take.

GRANT FOCUS FOR 2022
We invite proposals that interrogate how print and visual cultural materials of different kinds—journals, magazines, posters, pamphlets, books, little magazines, ephemera, etc.—contributed to, constituted, and were embedded in the cultural politics of a historical moment. Preference will be given to proposals that focus on print and visual cultural materials in regional languages that are out of circulation, and are not located in public collections, with an intent to make these materials accessible to the best extent possible, and in the most meaningful and productive ways.

Areas of research may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Social or political movements that extended to print culture, and mapping the visual, literary, and political histories therein.
  2. The intellectual contribution of artists, activists, poets, writers, editors, designers, or publishers who played an important role in the evolution of such print and visual cultural materials, and the debates therein.
  3. The movement of ideas on art, literature, poetry, aesthetics, and cultural practices within print culture, and as they occur via translation between languages and contexts.

SELECTION PRIORITIES

  • Research that aims to unearth print and visual cultural materials that are not accessible in public collections, and that preferably engages with regional language materials and milieus.
  • Research proposals that are interdisciplinary and deploy innovative methodologies, with clearly defined objectives and outcomes, and an outline of the relevant proposed area of research.
  • Proposals feasible for completion within the given duration of the grant.

Five candidates will be shortlisted for interviews on the basis of their applications. The interviews will be conducted online in April 2022; and one grantee will be selected from among those interviewed by a panel consisting of one external member, one member from SSAF, and one member from AAA in India. The selected grantee will be contacted by early May 2022.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Eligibility Criteria

  • Individuals who are Indian nationals residing in India, or collectives whose members are Indian nationals residing in India.
  • Individuals with relevant qualifications or professional experience and are already engaged in such research.

Deadline for Applications
31 March 2022

Duration of Grant
One year: 1 June 2022 to 31 May 2023

Grant Amount
Up to INR 3,00,000

GRANT DELIVERABLES
Applicants are required to propose the outcome they anticipate to produce through this research, including but not limited to: a richly annotated digitised archive, or a visual essay.

Since the purpose of the grant is to make material collated during the research process publicly accessible in annotated form, grantees will be expected to define the most appropriate way by which their research can be available in the public domain. This could take the form of a physical archive, website, online platform, or digital archive, among others, depending on the nature of the material, its content, and its legal status.

At the conclusion of the grant period, a sampling of materials that constitute the research area gathered during the grant period may be handed over to SSAF and AAA.

GRANT PROCESS AND AFTERLIFE

Report

For administrative purposes, grantees will be required to submit to SSAF and AAA one mid-term report (of 1500–2000 words) and one final report (of 3500­–5000 words) outlining the research process, narrativising key findings, listing collections and interlocutors, and declaring expenses for how the grant amount has been utilised.

Interim Presentation

Following the submission of the mid-term report, AAA and SSAF will organise a closed-door interim presentation by the grantee with attending members from both organisations, and any other key persons suggested by SSAF and AAA.

Public Presentation
A public presentation of the research will be co-organised by AAA and SSAF at the conclusion of the grant period.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  1. A completed application form (please click here to fill out the form)
  2. A two-page CV, including a selection of your most relevant publications or a portfolio of research projects in a single PDF file. Audio-video files can be sent as links to online platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud.
  3. A project proposal, which should include:
    (i) A description of the intended research with context of its relevance, an elaboration on the methodology to be used for purposes of research, as well as the intended form of the final outcome of this research.
    (ii) Indication of sources, collections, and interlocutors your research will rely on.
    (iii) A tentative timeline for the project’s realisation.
    (iv) No more than ten images of proposed research material in a single PDF file.
  4. A budget of estimated costs for your project based on your proposal and timeline.

Please send the documents specified above in PDF format to both ssaf.grants@gmail.com and artgrant@aaa.org.hk by 31 March 2022. Please list your name (last name, first name) in the subject line of the email.

We encourage applicants to reach out to us at the email addresses specified above prior to submitting the application to discuss any questions, clarifications, or concerns. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered. 


ABOUT SSAF
Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) was established in 2016 with the mandate to carry forward the legacy of scholar and photographer, Umrao Singh Sher-Gil (1870–1954); his daughter and a pioneering figure of modern Indian art, Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941); her nephew and niece, artist Vivan Sundaram and filmmaker and television journalist, Navina Sundaram.

Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) seeks to enable conjunctions of artistic and cultural practice that deal with historical memory, and to build expectations for the future. It commits itself to advancing creative independence for art that is founded on freedom of expression, and which is secular. SSAF aims to work in solidarity with initiatives addressing concerns of the marginalized; it supports alternative and heterodox practices.

ABOUT AAA IN INDIA
Asia Art Archive in India was established in New Delhi in 2013 with a mandate to facilitate dialogue and critical thinking around modern and contemporary art from India. AAA in India organises projects, workshops, and programmes to build archival collections and educational resources. It works in partnership with multiple individuals, organisations, and institutions across the field in South Asia that share AAA’s values.

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