The British Library is currently advertising for a Chevening Fellow for the following project:
Research on the British Library’s African-language printed books collections
The successful candidate will research at least one of the following collections: Hausa, Swahili, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu, Igbo, Sotho. This fellowship offers the opportunity to engage with a little-researched aspect of the British Library’s collections. Printed holdings of African-language material, whether published in Africa or elsewhere, cover well over 100 languages and comprise perhaps 7,000–8,000 items. These items date mostly from the 20th and 21st centuries, although some were published as early as the 19th century or even before. Most are books, although there is also some African-language material among serials and newspapers.
The project builds on recent work on the British Library’s Somali collections, which encompassed both collection research and community engagement. The Library would like the Chevening Fellow to research one or more of these language collections and their history, gaining a picture of the significance, and the research and creative potential, of what we have. The successful candidate will identify gaps and work on possible sources of new supply. The Fellow will engage with speakers of and specialists in the relevant language(s) in the UK, delivering engagement and public events, as well as building the British Library’s links with potential partners in Africa. The fellowship may also lead to a number of other outcomes, including specifying improvements to catalogue records; preparing the ground for the digitisation of selected African-language items; and creating new web pages.
Overall, the Fellow will play a key role in opening up our African-language collections to a variety of users, and building those collections. The successful candidate will gain experience of working in the UK’s national library, developing an understanding of the Library’s activities and strategy. They will have an opportunity to develop existing skills, and learn new ones, in a number of areas including library acquisitions, research, and community engagement. They will also have a chance to build more general skills such as public speaking and report-writing.
The fellowship will sit within the Asian and African Collections of the British Library, reporting to the Lead Curator for Africa.
Applicants from (and resident in) Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe are eligible for this fellowship, which is based at the British Library in London and runs for a year, beginning in September 2019.
The closing date for applications is 6 November 2018.
To apply, please go to: http://www.chevening.org/programme/british-library.