The Karun Thakar Fund 2024

February 13, 2024
Asafo flag, Ghana, 19th century. Applique and embroidery worked with trade cotton and a Queen Victoria commemorative handkerchief. Karun Thakar Collection

The Karun Thakar Fund offers one-time Project Grants of up to £5000 (£10,000 in exceptional circumstances) in support of projects focused on any aspect of Asian or African textiles or dress. Project Grants are offered every other year, and multiple grants are available in each round. The next round of applications opens on 1 April 2024.

The fund aims to enrich the fields of Asian and African textiles and dress by supporting meaningful and innovative study and practice, foregrounding fresh perspectives and ground-breaking research in under-resourced subject areas. Using the collections of the V&A and Karun Thakar as points of departure, the fund promotes materials-based, object-led learning and advocates for new approaches to the research and interpretation of historic materials.

Project grants are offered for the subsidisation of costs associated with discreet projects tangibly linked to Asian or African textiles and/or dress. For the purposes of the grant, a ‘project’ constitutes a short-term event or piece of work with concrete outputs and meaningful impacts. More information on project eligibility may be found in the Project Grant Application Guidance 2024 document.

Project proposals are welcomed from emerging/early-career researchers, practitioners, and curators, as well as community leaders, grassroot collectives and community-based arts organisations operating either in the UK or internationally, provided you can establish that your project is tangibly linked to Asian or African textiles/dress. The Selection Committee is particularly keen to support those who have not previously received significant funding in support of their work.

This year the committee would especially welcome proposals for projects which explore the subject areas of:

  • Asafo Flags: specifically, projects which incorporate research into the Asafo flags (frankaa) used by the Fante people of coastal Ghana. Over the last few decades these flags have had huge impacts on global art and design scenes, but there has been limited research into their current/historical makers, current/historical use, or incorporation of European and other foreign textiles in their construction. Any innovative project proposals exploring this art form from applicants who can demonstrate some knowledge of Asafo flags will be considered as responding to this brief.
  • South Indian craftsmanship in chintz production: specifically, projects which incorporate research into the historical identities, communities, localities, or experiences of South Indian hand-drawn and dyed chintz (kalamkari) artists, ideally using South Indian archives/material sources. Any innovative project (i.e. the proposal demonstrates the chosen research approach/area is ground-breaking) exploring this art form will be considered as responding to this brief.

Applications will be accepted until 23:59 GMT on 31 August 2024, and awardees announced by 28 September 2024.

For more information on how to apply, please see the fund pages on the V&A website.

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