Welcome to

Africanize

“If you want to go fast, go alone,
if you want to go far, go together”.

African proverb

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Overview

‘Africanize’ is a forward-looking initiative aimed at challenging the colonial-collector mindset by encouraging discussions around collected objects and art, all tailored to captivate a diverse audience.

We aim to centre creative and engaging interpretations of the collection, whilst concurrently providing space for meaningful dialogues through workshops based on research conducted. Embracing a community-driven ethos, we are committed to addressing the modern consequences of historical power imbalances through artist residencies, community engagement workshops and collaborations with heritage institutions.

It will serve as an exemplary collaboration between

Artists

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Communities

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Africanize


Our project targets a diverse community, including locals and academics connected by a shared interest in the historical and cultural significance of the artefacts.

We aim to engage this audience, fostering connections, igniting dialogue, and creating a project that resonates personally and impactfully.

Within this rendition of ‘Africanize’, Artist in Residence, Sipho Eric Ndlovu, has drawn inspiration from Birmingham University’s Research and Cultural Collection (RCC) to facilitate collective interpretations of African artefacts.

Ndlovu is a performance artist and writer with an avid interest in making art accessible to all communities.

‘I have always been passionate about community engagement and delivering quality, accessible art. My goal is to create pieces that inspire people in the community to explore their own stories through the arts.

I have been dedicated to this work for over a decade. What started as a personal interest during my teenage years has evolved into my professional career. The arts have been instrumental in helping me cope with my neurodivergence and speech impediment, allowing me to find my voice and express both my artistic and academic interests.’ – Sipho Eric Ndlovu

APPROACH
AND INTENTIONS

We hope ‘Africanize’ will serve as an exemplary collaboration between artists, communities and the academy.

We intend to share interpretation in a creative, engaging and well-consolidated manner, with space for discussions in workshops and open-invitation research days. Our approach is driven by our communities, who speak to us about the current consequences of historically unbalanced power structures.

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We hope this model will serve well as an example for community-focused, creative engagements of decolonial work between arts organisations, academic & heritage institutions It can provide a model of working between artists and communities and students/researchers from UoB.

The three stages of the project

Research

Artist in Residence engaged with academic research with support from the RCC team to interpret their chosen artefacts. Ndlovu’s findings informed the community workshops and creative outputs. You can find the full catalog of the African Collection housed at the RCC on their collections page.

Responding to Artefacts
Articles responding to the Research Found

‘Africanize’ Ukudansa Offers: A facilitators P.O.V

One of the best of many things about any workshop will always be the participants, and their willingness to engage with concepts in varied mediums. Ukudansa served many memorable moments and defined dance as a medium to effectively engage with an African collection. With this in mind, I believe Africanize

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Africanize: What It Is

This article, in many ways, aims to offer insight into a project thinking brain; to allow discovery of what Africanize is and what it could be. What it is, is a deconstructed formula detailing the genesis of the idea.  For Academics: Africanize as an artist response project examines in detail

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‘Africanize’ Art Mirroring Purpose 

On purpose with purpose  It matters not where WE reside, so long as we know that we came outside for a purpose.  It matters not where SOMETHING resides, so long as it remembers itself in due time; Its true-self, plus it’s renewed sense. self garnished with new smoke, a different

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‘Africanize’ Harakati Offers: A facilitators P.O.V

Disclaimer  The purpose of this workshop was to engage with the University of Birmingham’s Research & Cultural Collections (RCC) African collection of artworks and artefacts. Practising use of voice and body as a methodology, canvas & platform; participants and researchers are encouraged to come together to embody the nuances around

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Community Engagement

Community workshops saw local Brummies and wider national identities creatively interpreting the Artist in Residence’s chosen artefacts through poetry, dance, drama and roundtable discussions.

CREATIVE INTERPRETATION

Findings from research and community engagement workshops have informed Ndlovu’s ideation phase to create the following poems and short films.

Final output

Sankofa

Embracing the Past, Shaping the Future

“It is not taboo to go back
and fetch what you forgot”

A celebration of all the wonderful insights and artistic expressions Ndlovu has cultivated with communities, artists and academics.

‘Africanize’ is a forward-looking initiative aimed at challenging the colonial-collector mindset by encouraging discussions around collected objects and art, all tailored to captivate a diverse audience. Our approach centres on fostering creative, engaging interpretations of the collection while concurrently providing space for meaningful dialogues through workshops based on research conducted. Embracing a community-driven ethos, we are committed to addressing the modern consequences of historical power imbalances.

Contact us if you would like to Africanize your collection for museums, galleries, academic institutions, archives

Heritage Manifesto

There has been a longstanding disconnect between Young People of Colour and traditional heritage spaces. Our manifesto is a response to that problem. Co-produced with 10 young People of Colour, it details the areas where the sector needs to step up and make a change. Within its pages, you will:

  • Understand why People of Colour passionately oppose being seen and grouped as monoliths

  • Listen to a youthful perspective of what heritage spaces must do to challenge colonial perspectives, break down barriers, and address the erasure of histories.

  • Learn why Young People of Colour believe it is important to tell stories relevant to today’s social, cultural and political climate. 
 

DECOLONISATION-ISH

Decolonisation-ish is a book-lite from the Unlocked research strand on the Don’t Settle project. The book-lite is shaped by the research and interviews conducted by young women within academia. It aims to improve youth engagement and invite heritage institutions to kick the dust off heritage.

  • Learn activities in how to engage young People of Colour and identify what heritage means to them
 
  • Understand the difference between transactional engagement and authenticity to challenge tokenism
 
  • Listen to a debate on language from the perspectives of young people, heritage organisations and Don’t Settle staff and consider – what would heritage organisations gain from this ?
     

GET
INVOLVED

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