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Applications for the Chevening Western African Manuscripts Crowdsourcing Project Fellowship 2023/2024 are now open. This fellowship will be hosted by the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP). The Programme is of international prominence in its mission to preserve documentary heritage at risk of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. EAP funds projects from all over the world, to create digital copies of collections and deposit these both locally and within the British Library.
The Chevening Fellow will develop a community crowdsourcing project to improve the discoverability of approximately 10,000 digitised West African manuscripts in Arabic script. The EAP team is keen to ensure these manuscripts are assigned Arabic titles within the Library’s catalogue, making them more accessible to local communities. There is a current imbalance between titles being in original script, English or non-standard transliterations. The Library’s Digital Research team will provide guidance to the Fellow on all aspects of setting up and overseeing the crowdsourcing elements of the project.
The Fellow will oversee and promote the crowdsourcing project, drawing upon their already established contacts and developing new ones. The Fellow’s understanding of West African manuscript culture and interested communities will bring expertise, support and guidance to the project, harnessing contributions from the crowdsourcing project and preparing the integration of the new data into the Library’s catalogue.
Set up a crowdsourcing project for West African manuscripts using Zooniverse (guidance will be provided).
Promote the crowdsourcing project within West Africa as well as relevant institutions outside of the region.
Engage with the community of contributors.
Help promote the project more widely through blog articles and collection highlights on the Library’s webpage, to encourage further engagement with the collections.
Benefits from Chevening Crowdsourcing Project Fellowship
12-month period of project-based activity at the British Library.
Living expenses for the duration of the fellowship.
Return economy airfare from home country to the UK
Up to £1,000 from the British Library for approved project-related expenses.
Access to a programme of cultural events and activities organised by the FCDO and the Chevening Secretariat.
Access to a highly regarded global network of over 50,000 Chevening Alumni.
Behind-the-scenes experience of curatorial work at a national library and major cultural institution in the UK.
Staff-level access to unique British Library collections and research resources including access to staff training courses, workshops and talks.
In-depth understanding of the work of the Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) and opportunity to work closely with British Library staff, in particular with the Digital Research and the EAP teams.
Opportunity to enhance spoken and written English through work practice and collaboration with colleagues.
Networking opportunities across the British Library and a range of external networks in the UK and internationally, including attendance at the UK Libraries & Archives Group on Africa (SCOLMA) conference.
Specialist crowdsourcing training and opportunity to promote the project and engage audiences through a range of communication and networking channels.
Eligibility for Chevening Crowdsourcing Project Fellowship
Open to candidates from Mali/Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
Individuals must be residents in their home country at the time of making their application.
Fluency in reading Arabic/Ajami script.
Demonstrable knowledge of Islamic manuscript culture.
Strong computer skills and familiarity with Excel spreadsheets.
Excellent written and spoken English.
Familiarity with using social media.
Interest in Digital Humanities.
Understanding of cataloguing metadata.
Application of Chevening Crowdsourcing Project Fellowship