Chevening Western African Manuscripts Crowdsourcing Project Fellowship 2023
1st November 2022
Tell Me About Award:
This fellowship will be hosted by the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP). The Programme is of international prominence in its mission to preserve documentary heritage at risk of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. EAP funds projects from all over the world, to create digital copies of collections and deposit these both locally and within the British Library.
The Chevening Fellow will develop a community crowdsourcing project to improve the discoverability of approximately 10,000 digitised West African manuscripts in Arabic script. The EAP team is keen to ensure these manuscripts are assigned Arabic titles within the Library’s catalogue, making them more accessible to local communities. There is a current imbalance between titles being in original script, English or non-standard transliterations. The Library’s Digital Research team will provide guidance to the Fellow on all aspects of setting up and overseeing the crowdsourcing elements of the project.
The Fellow will oversee and promote the crowdsourcing project, drawing upon their already established contacts and developing new ones. The Fellow’s understanding of West African manuscript culture and interested communities will bring expertise, support and guidance to the project, harnessing contributions from the crowdsourcing project and preparing the integration of the new data into the Library’s catalogue.
What Type of Award is this?
Who can apply?
- Fluency in reading Arabic/Ajami script
- Demonstrable knowledge of Islamic manuscript culture
- Strong computer skills and familiarity with Excel spreadsheets
- Excellent written and spoken English
- Familiarity with using social media
- Interest in Digital Humanities
- Understanding of cataloguing metadata
- Written French
Individuals must be residents in their home country at the time of making their application
Which Countries are Eligible?
This fellowship is open to candidates from Mali/Niger, Nigeria and Senegal
Where will Award be Taken?
British Library Chevening Fellows are based at our St Pancras site in London and benefit from a unique research and professional development experience. They are embedded in their host department, but also in the Library’s wider postgraduate research community. The fellowship projects that we offer enable new types of research, inform strategy and foster international collaboration, and we deeply value the insights and expertise that Chevening Fellows bring.
What is the Benefit of Award?
- 12-month period of project-based activity at the British Library
- Living expenses for the duration of the fellowship
- Return economy airfare from home country to the UK
- Up to £1,000 from the British Library for approved project-related expenses
- Access to a programme of cultural events and activities organised by the FCDO and the Chevening Secretariat
- Access to a highly regarded global network of over 50,000 Chevening Alumni
- Set up a crowdsourcing project for West African manuscripts using Zooniverse (guidance will be provided)
- Promote the crowdsourcing project within West Africa as well as relevant institutions outside of the region
- Engage with the community of contributors
- Help promote the project more widely through blog articles and collection highlights on the Library’s webpage, to encourage further engagement with the collections
- Create at least 5,000 titles in Arabic, to be incorporated into the Library’s catalogue
- Create a step-by-step guide on setting up a crowdsourcing project
- Create a document about lessons learnt, with opportunity to develop insights into an article and/or a presentation for the UK Libraries & Archives Group on Africa (SCOLMA)
- An article about the project on the Asian and African Studies blog or in an external newsletter/journal
- A show & tell session/staff talk
- Behind-the-scenes experience of curatorial work at a national library and major cultural institution in the UK
- Staff-level access to unique British Library collections and research resources including access to staff training courses, workshops and talks
- In-depth understanding of the work of the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) and opportunity to work closely with British Library staff, in particular with the Digital Research and the EAP teams
- Opportunity to enhance spoken and written English through work practice and collaboration with colleagues
- Networking opportunities across the British Library and a range of external networks in the UK and internationally, including attendance at the UK Libraries & Archives Group on Africa (SCOLMA) conference
- Specialist crowdsourcing training and opportunity to promote the project and engage audiences through a range of communication and networking channels
How Long is the Program?
How to Apply for Program?
For all other eligibility criteria, please refer to the Chevening website: https://www.chevening.org/fellowship/british-library/
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