Akademi to archive 40 years of its South Asian dance heritage in the UK at the V&A Museum

9 Dec 2019

© Vipul Sangoi

South Asian dance organisation Akademi has been awarded £98,700 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to create an archive of its work over its 40 years of existence. This 13-month project with the Victoria and Albert Museum, from December 2019 to December 2020, will explore the evolution and impact of Akademi in the UK.

Akademi will archive the material currently held in storage, produce a resource book and online materials, and create a series of films which celebrates the organisation’s history. A project manager and trainee archivists, including volunteers from older age groups, will be recruited via the Archives and Records Association to catalogue and digitise the archive. The completed archive will then be installed at the V&A.

In spring 2020, two oral history projects will be using the archive material as their starting points and inspiration. The projects, one with Sai School in Harrow and one with Pagrav Dance Company in Milton Keynes, will culminate in performances at the V&A’s annual Performance Festival in late April/early May.

Kirsten Burrows, Executive Director and CEO at Akademi, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players which will enable Akademi to preserve its 40 years of history at the V&A for future generations. Alongside the archive, we hope that our community workshops will provide local communities with the inspiration to record and transfer their own cultural heritage through oral history traditions.”

Ramona Riedzewski, Head of Collections Management, Department of Theatre and Performance, the Victoria and Albert Museum, said: “We are privileged to be the permanent home of the Akademi archive, documenting the evolution of this inspiring organisation and its wide-ranging work. This collection is particularly important not only as a record of the process and work presented by Akademi but also as a source of primary materials for use in our education and engagement work.”

The National lottery Heritage Fund aims to inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. The archiving project is also supported by Arts Council as part of its NPO funding for Akademi.