31 July 2013

Funding awarded for South African print culture project

Caroline Davis meeting the poet Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali at the Book Lounge, Cape Town, 20th May 2013

British Academy funding has been awarded to Caroline Davis of the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies under the International Partnership and Mobility Scheme.

The aim of this three-year project is to bring together scholars from Oxford Brookes and Pretoria universities, in order to generate a more informed understanding of the development of print culture in 20th century South Africa, and its implications for larger questions of nationality and politics. There is particular attention to the cultural, political and economic impact of the book trade between South Africa and the UK during the 20th century. Dr Jane Potter and Dr Sally Hughes from Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies are partners in the project together with Professor Archie Dick and Dr Beth Le Roux from the University of Pretoria.

Of the award, Caroline says

"I am delighted to receive this funding, which extends the Publishing Centre's excellent partnership programme with Pretoria University and will enable me to continue my own research on African publishing histories and print culture. I'm really looking forward to a series of exchange visits, shared workshops and shared publications that we'll be organising in the next three years as a result of this generous British Academy funding."

This is an extension of the current British Academy partnership (2012-13), which has already funded two exchange trips between partners in both institutions and a full programme of joint research activities. Partners participated in ‘The Book in Africa’ International Symposium, on 20 October 2012, at the Institute for English Studies, Senate House, University of London. A second event was the workshop 'Progressing Book History and Publishing Studies as Disciplines' held at Oxford Brookes University in October 2012, which provided a forum for discussion leading to ways to strengthen the study of publishing. A third successful conference 'Print, Publishing and Cultural Production' was organised at the University of Pretoria in May 2013.

The next phase of the research partnership will be consolidated by a programme of seminars and colloquia, joint publications and the creation of a web-based portal, 'Print Culture and Book History in Africa Portal'. A colloquium entitled ‘Publishing Networks and Book Circulation in Africa’ will take place in July 2014 at Oxford Brookes. Together these events aim to bring together scholars engaged in book history and publishing studies research in both regions and to provide a basis from which to extend research collaboration to academic institutions in other regions of Africa.