Announcing IF Phase 1 Project Commissions

Following our invitation for applications for funding earlier this year, we are delighted to announce that Imagining Futures is supporting thirteen new Project Commissions across six different countries in Africa and the Middle East.   

Our successful Project Commissions’ awardees stood out among a group of very exciting and valuable project applications. Their creative and sensitive approaches to archival practice will form a vital legacy for their local communities as well as for the understanding of wider national and international concerns.   

The projects share Imagining Futures’ overall strategic aim to build methodologies of egalitarian archival practice that counter erasure and overwriting. The projects draw on stories that speak to issues of difficult, unresolved or displaced pasts, of their landscapes and their caretakers. Underpinning these initiatives are questions of whose story will continue to be told and how, and whose silenced. 

Where are they?  

Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda 

When are they running? 

Project Commissions run for approximately six months, and are expected to conclude their work by early 2022.  

What have been the approaches to their investigations?  

Project Commissions are utilising community-engaged research methodologies to address the diverse meanings and uses of archives of knowledge and culture. The approaches include: 

  • Recording oral histories and interviews: including with village elders, descendants of marginalised or oppressed communities and across different generations 
  • Workshops and group discussions: promoting dialogue about individual and collective experiences through mental-mapping, engaging in craft and focussing on traditional storytelling 
  • Archaeological and botanical fieldwork: exploring historical sites and ‘landscape archives’ including former slave markets, railway lines and through studying plant distribution and remains. 
  • Photography and audio-visual recordings: creating and sharing archives of traditional and modern art, dancing, traditional dress and protest art.

What will their archived materials look like and how will they be shared?  

Projects are now underway, and will be sharing their findings as they complete by early 2022. They’ll be sharing their archived materials (including videos and short films, recorded music and interviews, photographs and music) through digital channels, including on dedicated online websites operated by the project leads, as well as through the Imagining Futures web site and a project-wide Repository, also to be launched in 2022. 

Project Commissions:

Each Project Commission will receive between £3,500 and £12,000, and will be working to gather data and create their own unique archive community-engaged archive at project end in early 2022. 

For more information, please contact