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The Sapling Fund and Bradford Sapling 2023-24

The Sapling Fund, and Sapling Bradford are jointly delivered by the Cultural Institute and Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute. The Sapling Fund is designed to support colleagues from across the University of Leeds in developing an interdisciplinary research or impact project rooted in the arts and humanities in collaboration with at least one non-HE partner in the cultural, arts or third sector, whilst Sapling Bradford focuses on developing projects leading to longer term community collaboration and partnerships in Bradford.

The schemes are supported by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). They replace the Interdisciplinary Research & Impact Fund for Culture (IRIFC).

Affect, Algorithms, and Archives

Affect, Algorithms, and Archives: Reclaiming Emotions and Relationality in Digital Spaces

Archives reclaim lost narratives, solidify uncharted connections, and discover (yet) unknown futures for archival objects. Scholarship in Archival Studies and Digital Humanities has actively acknowledged issues around equity, diversity, and inclusivity as well as the socio-cultural privileges, which enhance/limit access to archival objects. Digital archives and aggregators represent a drive towards standardization of information discovery across collections, reflecting traditional and colonial methods for organizing and classifying the world. The current rise in algorithmically mediated artistic practices has further flattened the historical and geographical specificities of archival objects, and prevented everyday human reactions to archives from being recorded and legitimized.

From Paper to Pixel: Exploring anti-caste Print Culture

From Paper to Pixel: Exploring anti-caste Print Culture

This interdisciplinary project explores the historical trajectories of print activism among low caste and Dalit movements in south India, and how print continues to play a significant role in a range of ongoing anti-caste endeavours across the country today. We are interested in exploring the positive financial and organisational impact that the emergence of community-focused printing presses had on local Dalit movements, as well as in mapping and preserving local community and family archives relating to this. The project conducts a case study of Siddhartha Press, a pioneering anti-caste printing press founded at Kolar Gold Fields (Karnataka) in the year 1919 and one of the most important publishers of the work of Dalit intellectual Iyothee Thass. Siddhartha Press was one of the earliest Dalit printing presses and was a pioneer in bilingual publishing – English and Tamil.

arts and abolitionist futures

arts & abolitionist futures engages with collective, creative, imaginative work to highlight partners Abolitionist Futures– a grassroots collective engaged in political education to build capacity for futures less reliant on criminal punishment. At present, the organisation is working on digitising the archive of The Abolitionist which was a 1980s journal by the ‘Radical Alternative to Prison group’.

A Somali Village in Colonial Bradford

This project, led by PI Fozia Bora in collaboration with the Anglo-Somali Society, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Everyday Muslim, Bradford City of Culture 2025, the University of Bradford and the Bradford Literature Festival, will uncover the buried history of ‘A Somali Village in Colonial Bradford’.

Food on Film: Community-led filmmaking on Bradford food sustainability

How can we talk about food, health, and sustainability in a meaningful way? What tools do we need and who needs to be part of these conversations? This project, led by Rory Padfield (Earth and Environment) and in collaboration with Alexandra Dales (York St John University) aims to answer these questions as part of a pilot study in partnership with Bradford Council.

A Teaspoon of Shampoo

This project led by Dr Rob Eagle (PCI) with Dr Shabina Aslam, Creative Director of Theatre in the Mill, will result in a production from Theatre in the Mill with community collaborators from Manningham, supported by practice-led research from the University of Leeds.

Understanding the power of ‘Pragmatic Language’

Understanding the power of ‘Pragmatic Language’ for youth-led, arts-based activism in and beyond Bradford is a project. led by Paul Cooke (World Cinemas, LCS), together with Cécile De Cat (Linguistics), Karen Thornton (Bradford University) and political theatre company Common Wealth (Bradford and Cardiff)