What’s with the African Audio-Visual Archive?

Our project centers on the creation of an archive of African audio-visual materials, ranging from photographs and cinematographic images to videos and sound recordings. Two questions about the project may immediately come to mind.

1. Why Africa?

Africa, the source of all humanity–and, by extension, the humanities–is a continent always defined by change and innovation. Moreover, by the year 2100, Africans are estimated to constitute 40% of the world’s population. This makes it absolutely critical to reverse the relegation of African perspectives to the margins and re-situate them as central to the humanities enterprise.

2. Why audio-visual materials?

While Africa produced great libraries like those of Alexandria and Timbuktu, visual and audio media are equally privileged in Africa for translating experience, contesting inequity, and seeking inspiration. That said, African audio-visual collections are rare, are lacking in material resources and technological support, and have attracted little academic research.