Karun Thakar Scholarships awarded

November 2, 2021
Cloth, Côte d’Ivoire, hand-spun indigo and white cotton with machine-spun coloured thread, first half of the 20th century. Karun Thakar Collection

The inaugural year of the fund saw a huge response from applicants throughout the world. The Selection Committee was thrilled to receive applications from BA, MA, and PhD students based in Nigeria, Senegal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, China, Switzerland, France, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Brazil.

The calibre of applications was extremely high, and following a challenging review process the Selection Committee is awarding funds to three outstanding candidates.

Figure of a richly-dressed official of the Tang dynasty, about 675 – 725. Museum no. V&A: C.879-1936 © Victoria and Albert Museum. Purchased with Art Fund support, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee

The candidates selected are each working in exciting new areas of research, ranging from the development of contemporary handwoven cloth by Dioula weavers in Northern Côte d’Ivoire, to Kushan influence on trans-Asian fashion, to the potential of e-textile technologies to digitally tell the stories behind minority Chinese textiles and dress. The funds awarded to these candidates will be used to pay tuition, access resources, and conduct research in regions of study.

The work of all three awardees will be featured on this page in coming months, and we look forward to sharing their research findings with the larger Asian and African textiles and dress communities.

Woman’s festive jacket, embroidery and applied work, made by the Miao minority group (Black Miao) in Anshun prefecture, Guizhou province, China, 1910 – 1917. Museum no. V&A: T.78-1922 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Given by Mr B. G. Tours CMG

Next year the second phase of The Karun Thakar Fund will launch with the establishment of the Project Fund. The aim of the Project Fund will be to support early career researchers and emerging practitioners in undertaking projects focusing on Asian and African textiles and dress. Eligibility and application guidelines will be published in early 2022.

Finally, we are very pleased to welcome Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of V&A East and leading expert in African art and material culture, to the Selection Committee team.

Thank you to all the candidates who applied to the Scholarship Award this year. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with your valuable contributions to the fields of Asian and African textiles and dress.

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