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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 AFRICA95
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Africa95
Date(s): [1957]-1996
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 51 boxes including 47 outsize
Name of creator(s): Africa95 | arts festival


Administrative/Biographical history:

Africa95 was founded in 1992 to initiate and organise a nationwide season of the arts of Africa to be held in the UK in the last quarter of 1995. The wide-ranging events included the visual and performing arts, cinema, literature, music and public debate, and programmes on BBC television and radio. Africa95, a registered company with charitable status, was formed in 1993. It was granted patronage by HM the Queen, President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Sengal. The centrepiece of the season was the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition, 'Africa: the Art of a Continent'.

The policy and decision-making body was an Executive Committee chaired by Sir Michael Caine. The offices, with around 10 permanent staff, were at Richard House, 30-32 Mortimer Street, London. Over 20 co-ordinators and consultants were engaged in the project. Funding was provided from over 150 sources, with major grants being made by the European Development Fund, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council, and the Baring Foundation. Company sponsors included British Airways and Blue Circle Industries.

Following the 1995 season of African arts, Africa95 continued in a minor way, with offices at Windsor House, 83 Kingsway, London.


Scope and content/abstract:

Archives, [1957]-1996, of Africa95, including material from the festival administrators, producers and participants.

Various deposits, c1980-1996, on individual artists or on planning Africa95 include correspondence, printed material, photographs, and slides of the work of artists from Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the USA.

Records of the central administration, 1991-1996, comprise planning papers and correspondence, 1991-1993; minutes of the Executive Committee, 1993-1995, Board of Trustees, 1995-1996, Funding Committee, 1993-1994, and Annual General Meeting, 1995; Chairman's correspondence, 1993-1996; research materials on non-western arts in Europe; Executive Council records, comprising correspondence, 1992-1995, reports received, 1993, 1995, and Trustees' report and financial statements, 1995; contracts, information and correspondence of the Co-ordinator, 1993-1994; International Council of Artists proposals, contact lists and correspondence, 1993-1994; brochures, 1993-1995; legal papers concerning incorporation, lease of premises, and charitable status, 1993-1995.

Records relating to arts management, 1980-1996, cover funding and sponsorship, 1993-1995; publicity, 1994-1995; press activity, 1994-1996, including cuttings; posters, 1993-1995; general administration, including personnel and finance, 1994-1995; arts organisations and other festivals, 1991-1995; subject files, 1985-1996, including exhibition catalogues on people and places including Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, the USA, and Zimbabwe; videos, 1980-1995, including artists and their work; publications and exhibition catalogues, 1980-1995, for Algeria, Angola, France, Korea, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and the UK.

Records relating to finance and development, 1991-1996, cover budgets and funding, companies and sponsorship, and Trusts.

Records on receptions and launches, 1993-1995, relate to events in various locations.

Records relating to Africa95 Nigeria, 1994-1995, include correspondence and photographs.

Records relating to arts events across the UK cover visual arts (photography, fine art, sculpture, calligraphy, metalwork, textiles, and architecture), 1991-1996; cinema, 1993-1995; music, including classical, traditional, gospel, world, jazz, reggae, and popular music [1957]-1996 (including videos, sound recordings and scores); performing arts, including dance, theatre, and puppetry, 1989-1996 (including videos); literature, including poetry, 1993-1995.

Records relating to other activities cover conferences on African arts, including events at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Royal African Society, and Courtauld Institute of Art, 1993-1996; education and young peoples' events, 1993-1996; international workshops and residencies, including events in Senegal, Zimbabwe, London, and Yorkshire, 1990-1996; television and radio, 1992-1995 (including sound recordings of programmes on Radios 1, 3 and 4).

Records relating to post-festival administration, 1994-1996, cover evaluation, celebratory concert, finance, and archive arrangements.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Mainly English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist by Emma West, including index of names, places and subjects.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The School of Oriental and African Studies agreed to house the Africa95 archives in 1996.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Apr 2002

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