Posts by LucM1

Call for Papers – ‘Publishing, Collecting and Accessing African-language Materials’

SCOLMA Annual Conference 2020

Oun a ní la ? gbé l’árug?[1] 

(It is the heritage we have that we must celebrate :

Publishing, Collecting and Accessing African-language Materials

 

Monday 8 June 2020

SALT, Paul Webley Wing, SOAS, University of London

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

The question of writing in African languages has frequently been a matter of debate and contestation in recent times. Today, English, French and Portuguese remain the official languages of most countries of Africa south of the Sahara, and most publishing appears in these languages.

Nevertheless, books and newspapers continue to be published in many African languages, albeit often in small numbers. New initiatives such as the Jalada Translation Project are actively promoting writing in this area. African languages also flourish in many other formats – and have done so historically – whether (for example) as manuscripts, ephemera, or audio-visual forms from cassette tapes and radio programmes to YouTube films.

This conference will take up these issues by looking at producing, collecting, accessing, researching and preserving African-language materials.

One set of concerns for the conference are those relating to production and publishing. What is the current state of publishing of African-language books, periodicals and newspapers – and what is its history? What other formats have been vibrant in the past, and what forms are emerging today?

More generally, what forms of creativity and innovation are encouraging the production of works in African languages, and which have been successful in doing so in the past? What is the role of government policy, and of school and university education, in encouraging writing and creativity in these languages? What can we learn from the creation of literary and other works in major languages such as KiSwahili or Yoruba? For endangered languages, does publication or the creation of new work play a role in revival?

Related to this is the question of new technology, which provides new platforms and possibilities of connection, as well as enabling written communication in non-roman scripts. Is this technology making a significant difference to the future of publishing and the making of creative works in African languages? Is it a game-changer?

Libraries and archives (in Africa, the UK and internationally) tasked with collecting and preserving African-language materials are faced with specific challenges – not least the multifariousness of formats, and the fragmented nature of the book trade in Africa. What sort of historic collections do these institutions have? How and to what extent are they currently collecting printed books, and material in other formats, in African languages? How are they responding to emerging formats? How are they dealing with the linguistic challenges of processing such material? In addition to academic and national libraries, do school, college and public libraries have significant collections in this area?

Access to these collections is crucial, in particular, for mother-tongue speakers of these languages. How do potential users find out what we have, and how do libraries and archives enable access to these collections? Do current cataloguing standards and practices offer sufficient support to catalogue users? How are these collections being used by language learners and non-mother tongue speakers? How are libraries and archives outside Africa working to engage diaspora audiences, and partner with African colleagues? How are libraries in Africa promoting these materials and encouraging their use? What is happening in the field of digitisation?

 

Scope

Papers covering all African languages (including Afrikaans and Pidgins), as well as Arabic, are within scope for this conference. Papers looking at the issues above in relation to non-roman scripts are also welcomed.

Papers should relate to questions of publishing/producing works in African languages, and collecting, accessing, researching and preserving such materials. We are not looking for papers on more general themes relating to African languages.

 

How to submit an abstract for consideration

Librarians, archivists, researchers, teachers and students are invited to submit abstracts on these themes of up to 350 words, together with a short bio (one paragraph only), including current affiliation (where applicable). Please send this information to Sarah Rhodes (sarah.rhodes@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) by 3 February 2020.

 

We regret that SCOLMA is not able to offer funding for travel expenses.

 

[1] Yoruba proverb

SOAS Library – an Open Letter from SCOLMA

                                                                                                                  9th January 2019

 

Dear Baroness Amos,

Re: SOAS Library – Open Letter

I am writing on behalf of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) to express our deep concerns about the proposed cuts to SOAS Library.

SOAS Library holds one of the most important African Studies collections in the UK, widely used by its own students and academics and by researchers from around the world, including Africa. The proposed cuts will have an adverse effect on the ability of researchers to access the collections and on the Library’s ability to continue to acquire and process archives and publications. The loss of subject librarians in one of only five National Research Libraries is particularly to be deplored and the loss of frontline library staff will adversely impact on all library users. Given the proposed overall cuts to staff numbers and the additional work which will fall to remaining staff, we do not see how meaningful area specialist posts will continue to exist. We are also particularly concerned about the implied dependence on externally funded posts in the Archives and Special Collections department rather than on permanent staff with overall knowledge of the collections.

We urge you to reconsider the proposed cuts and to explore other options to maintain the library at current levels as one of the pre-eminent collections on Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Yours sincerely,

Lucy McCann

SCOLMA Chair on behalf of the Committee

lucy.mccann@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

 Copied: Dawn Wright, Subject Librarian (Africa), SOAS Library; Professor Ambreena Manji, ASAUK President;  savesoaslibrary@gmail.com; onepsconsultation@soas.ac.uk

Call For Papers – ‘Decolonising African Studies: questions and dilemmas for libraries, archives and collections’

SCOLMA Annual Conference

 Decolonising African Studies : questions and dilemmas for libraries, archives and collections

 Monday 10 June 2019

 University of Edinburgh

Appleton Tower 2.12, 11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9LE

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

There has been an increasing call for the decolonisation of the curriculum across the disciplines in Northern institutions and elsewhere, notably recently South Africa. Librarians and archivists should be actively involved in this process but little attention has as yet been given to practical implications for libraries: acquisitions, cataloguing, resource allocation, information literacy, and the need for continuing professional development.

European institutions hold rich resources on Africa. How are these collections being used from the decolonisation point of view and what is research on these collections uncovering?

How are libraries and archives seeking to open up their collections, how are they responding to the different demands and requirements of scholars and restitution activists and what sort of partnerships are they developing in African countries and elsewhere?

In order to increase access to African-authored knowledge and perspectives how are libraries discovering what is being published in Africa and acquiring it? How are international journals being opened up to African academics?

Librarians, archivists, researchers, teachers and students are invited to submit abstracts of up to 350 words for consideration to Sarah Rhodes (sarah.rhodes@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) by 4 February 2019.

 


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