15 Dec 2018

SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture 2019

The Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation (SSAF) and Asia Art Archive (AAA) in India are pleased to announce the SSAF–AAA Research Grant for Histories of Ideas, Art Writing, and Visual Culture 2019. Applications may be made by Indian nationals residing in India, or collectives whose members are Indian nationals residing in India, as well as other eligible individual researchers and activists.

This grant, which marks the second year of collaboration between SSAF and AAA in India, emerges from AAA’s ongoing engagement with histories of art writing, and its initiatives to map, compile, translate, and republish texts from various contexts. This grant is in line with SSAF’s commitment to work with cross-disciplinary initiatives addressing the oppressed and the marginalised, and alternative and heterodox practices in the arts and in intellectual work.

The grant aims to:

  • Support research on critical histories of art writing, art-making, and visual culture in twentieth/twenty-first century India and other countries of South Asia, with a focus on their manifestations in print form such as books, journals, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Open research avenues into dalit, feminist, peasant, working-class, and other political histories, viewed as a constituent part of wider discursive fields, specific regional milieu, and the politics of image-making and circulation.
  • Help develop tools and methods for critical art historical analyses of regional discourses and debates in politics and culture, preferably in but not limited to the regional languages.

Researchers are encouraged to propose projects that open new areas of study; offer close readings of images and texts; map circuits of dissemination; and suggest new connections between the visual arts, existing intellectual histories, and social, political, and cultural movements.

Grant Focus for 2019

The focus of the SSAF–AAA Research Grant this year is periodicals as a site that shapes perceptions, imaginations, and notions of what constitutes culture and the public sphere. We invite proposals that interrogate how periodicals of different kinds—journals, magazines, little magazines, etc.—contributed to, constituted, and were embedded in the cultural politics of a historical moment. Preference will be given to proposals that focus on how the visual arts—including cover art, illustrations, cartoons, centre spreads, photographs, portfolios, and reproductions of artworks—were positioned in periodicals in different languages and/or different regions. Areas of research may include:

  1. One or more social movements that extended to periodicals and mapping the place of visuals therein.
  2. An interesting moment in the life of one or more periodicals, and the role of visuals therein.
  3. The travel of ideas on arts, aesthetics, and cultural practices within periodicals, and as they occurred via translation between languages.
  4. The intellectual contribution of one or more writers, editors, or publishers who played an important role in the evolution of a periodical, and in the positioning of visual arts within it.
  5. Debates on concepts and categories stemming from regional languages, as reflected in periodicals.


Eligibility Criteria

  • Individuals who are Indian nationals residing in India, or collectives whose members are Indian nationals residing in India.
  • Individuals with relevant academic qualifications; or who are already engaged in research, with access to private or public collections; or who have professional experience in writing/publishing; or activists with years of engagement/experience in their chosen fields.

Deadline for Applications: 15 December 2018

Duration of Grant
One year | 1 April 2019–30 March 2020

Grant Amount
Up to INR 3,00,000

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