Nigerian Campus Forms Mini Conference
On 15 and 16 December, ASAUKNextGen hosted a mini conference in collaboration with the Lagos Studies Association. The topic of the small group conference, involving mostly early career researchers, was Nigerian Campus Forms, an ongoing research project in association with the LSA. In this intimate workshop environment, the contributors to the edited volume presented their work in progress to the other authors, and to editors and invited senior academics.
In this way, the collective labour builds a supportive peer network and gives authors the opportunity to give and receive feedback on work in progress. The edited volume builds on the ASAUK Writing Workshop model, but instead of focusing on individual papers this workshop is part of a 2 year long project which will result in an edited volume.
Field Research in Africa: The Ethics of Researcher Vulnerabilities – Early Career Scholar Roundtable
This conversation was particularly intended for early career researchers, and part of the ASAUKNextGen2020+ initiative where we build collegial networks and create friendly opportunities to learn from peers.
We heard from Gino Vlavonou (University of Ottawa) and Rosette Sifa Vuninga (University of the Western Cape), and the project was introduced by one of the editors of the book, Susan Thomson. Rosette Vuninga and Gino Vlavonou contributed chapters to Field Research in Africa: The Ethics of Researcher Vulnerabilities (edited by An Ansoms, Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka, and Susan Thomson). These chapters were not directly drawn from their research projects, but instead developed reflections on aspect of their fieldwork experiences. The edited collection provides deep reflections on the ethical and methodological challenges of scholars who study the social life of Africans in the Central African Republic (Vlavonou) and South Africa (Vuninga). Their experiences, as Africans researching ‘at home’, contribute to debates on research ethics as a way of knowing.
The editors sought to encourage their authors to share with a wider audience decolonial ways of doing research, of knowing people and their places, of building research relationships, and of sharing what they found with their academic communities. Vlavonou and Vuninga provided insights on how researchers can embrace their intersectional human-ness, to address their own strengths and weaknesses as researchers, demonstrating how researchers cannot reasonably negotiate the social relationships essential to research with participants. This self-awareness is at the heart of researcher vulnerabilities, as Susan Thomson, one of the editors, discussed in her opening remarks.
To watch a recording of this conversation, please see the video on the ASAUK YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/UjbSokmw9xs
Interview with Natty Mark Samuels
In November 2021, ASAUKNextGen conducted an interview with Natty Mark Samuels, who founded the African School initiative in Oxford in 2009 to introduce African Studies to the general public. His main focus is on pre-colonial societies and their artistic expression, with a specialism in African and Caribbean folklore. Lectures and workshops have been delivered in varied settings such as schools, museums, community projects, youth clubs, colleges and universities.
During the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Natty Mark Samuels started another inspirational initiative, the African School Mobile Library, a lending library for which the tag line is “African Studies by bicycle”.
For more information about the African School see the web site: africanschool.weebly.com
It is a free service, but donations are welcome to help the library grow. The African School Mobile Library accepts donations of resources, time, labour or materials. Please watch the interview here (in 2 clips available on the ASAUK YouTube channel), to find out about the work being done and for ideas about how ASAUK members can support this initiative.
“The Comforts of Home” Research Network and Mini Conference
On 25 August, the ASAUK NextGen2020+ will be hosting a mini conference on the theme “The Comforts of Home”. This initiative aims to create peer support networks for early career scholars working on topics related to various forms of care labour, including domestic work and sex work. The main aim is to support the research of individuals in the network, as well as others who were introduced to the group and who have joined the cohort by invitation. In this network, we shall read one another’s work and comment from our own regional and disciplinary perspectives, in a supportive and respectful way. The work presented to the group need not be perfect, and many of our conversations will involve methodological problems or moments of being stuck. It is a group where members are meant to grow and develop, and not necessarily to show off a perfectly formed professional self.
Ten people were chosen to take part in this mini conference, from Malawi, Benin, Kenya, Nigeria and the USA. The group will receive comments and mentoring from Professor Saheed Aderinto, Professor Solomon Waliaula and Professor Luise White.
Nigerian Campus Forms
Throughout August, ASAUKNextGen2020+ will be hosting regular drop-in sessions for scholars engaged in cutting edge research on university life across Nigeria, paying attention not only to the metropolitan universities but also to private universities, faith-based universities and provincial or smaller universities. If you are interested in taking part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Ogunde’s Bread and Bullet, to #EndSARS: Nigerian artists’ creative responses to current events
IN COLLABORATION WITH LAGOS STUDIES ASSOCIATION AND ILLUMINATE THEATRE
As the Lagos Studies Association conference for this year enters its final day, we send you here information about an event co-hosted by Lagos Studies Association and the ASAUK. ASAUK runs a range of free events for early career scholars under their ASAUKNextGen2020+ programme. The upcoming conversation on 3 July is organised in conjunction with the Lagos Studies Association and Illuminate Theatre company, and we shall be discussing the use of various cultural art forms for activist purposes.
In the past significant attention has been paid to music as an instrument of resistance. Tejumola Olaniyan in his canonical work Arrest the Music documents, among others themes, how Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s social activism shaped popular consciousness. We hope to use this work as a starting point for our conversation, and to refer also to the work of the Nigerian actor and playwright Hubert Ogunde. We use as example his theatre piece Bread and Bullet which portrays the colonial violence on workers at the Enugu Colliery in Nigeria. Contemporary theatre practitioners like Illuminate Theatre and Crown Troupe use their own works to comment on social justice and current affairs; we have invited this creative collective to engage with scholars and to share with us their insights and knowledge.
The conversation will be chaired by Carli Coetzee, and discussion will be led by Rosemary Popoola and Folakemi Ogungbe. Members of Crown Troupe will address us and talk about how their troupe generates new creative material in response to political and social events. Illuminate Theatre are: Enechukwu Emmanuel Uche, Olowu Busayo and Ojudun Taiwo Jacob.
You can see a link to their theatre company’s web site here: https://www.illuminate-theatre.com/gallery
Topic: Meeting with Rosemary Popoola, Folakemi Ogungbe, and Illuminate Thearte
Journal publishing on the African continent
On June 10 at 9 am Accra/10 am Lagos/11 am Johannesburg/12 am Dar es Salaam, join ASAUKNextGen2020+ in collaboration with #JournalWorkAcademy,
@AfricaJacs and @divinefuh to talk about the issues to consider before starting a new journal at your institution.
The most important issue, @AfricaJacs will argue, is sustainability. If you want to take part, please email email@example.com for the zoom code. (Apologies to those west of Dakar, the morning time was chosen in response to internet patterns and reception quality).
Work and wage labour
The ASAUKNextGen2020+ was on Saturday 5 June at 10 am in London and Lagos, 9 am in Accra, 12 midday in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, 5 pm in Beijing; and continued the International Workers’ Day conversation.
Scholarship on youth across Africa pays a great deal of attention to dreams of material wealth, and scams and bluffs to seem or become wealthy. What alternative dreams are there outside the celebration of consumption; beyond the shiny mall, designer shoes, cars, gold and diamonds? What forms of labour and community-making are created and endure amidst precarity? How do we make meaning, every day, beyond and outside wage labour? We are “NextGen” but we are also interested in what an older generation do to make the world every day. One of the inspirations behind this conversation is the work done by Crown Troupe of Africa and Illuminate Theatre, and we hope to have a member of the troupe talk to us about the labour practices and meaning-making work of their work space called The Lab.
If you are interested in taking part in this Saturday morning conversation about the differences between work and wage labour, and between consumer dreams and dreams of communities please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the zoom link.
International Workers’ Day
On International Workers’ Day (aka May Day in certain regions), ASAUK Next Generation 2020+ hosted a conversation around representations of workers in popular culture and the media. The conversation took place online between 10 and 12 midday London and Lagos time. Across Africa, 1 May is recognised as Workers’ Day or Labour Day, and in many locations workers gather to celebrate their labour unions, labour organisations often wearing uniforms identifying their trades or occupations. Recently scholarship on labour has prominently featured ideas around boredom, waithood, and lack of opportunities to enter the labour market. In this session we invite participants to discuss projects that aim to celebrate (or complicate) and document labour and labourers, across media and modes. What forms are taken by the popular culture of labour movements and labour unions across occupations as diverse as barbershop workers, domestic labourers and market seamstresses, and what are the expressive forms deployed by labour movements and trade union associations?
Gallery tour by Prof Joseph Oduro-Frimpong
The @ASAUK_News #NextGeneration2020+ initiative kicks off with a gallery tour by Prof Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, founder and director of the Centre for African Popular Cultural Studies at Ashesi University in Ghana He discusses his private collection of barber shop signs and hand painted movie posters exhibited at the Nubuke Foundation in Accra. Watch the video he made for us on the ASAUK YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/XDMyixYTwnc