Alumni & Friends Fund - Student Projects
Applications have now closed.
The panel consider applications under a broad category of ‘enhancing the student experience at SOAS’. This may include outreach programmes that help students learn new skills and engage with the local community, sporting activities that help raise the profile of SOAS nationally and internationally, or cultural initiatives benefiting SOAS students and the wider community.
2014/2015 Endorsed Projects:
African Development Forum
A group of SOAS students have been awarded Alumni and Friends Funding to design, coordinate and host a forum for students, researchers and community members aimed at presenting an alternative viewpoint on African development. This year the African Development Forum (ADF) is hosting a conference on the 14th of March 2015 entitled, 'African Social Enterprise: Development From Within’. The aim of the conference is to showcase grassroots entrepreneurs and enterprises responding to perceived needs or 'gaps' in service provision in their local environments, creating sustainable, economically-beneficial change for themselves and their communities. Throughout the day, a diverse group of panellists will present their ideas on the topic, provide concrete examples and analyse social enterprise in Africa as a phenomenon. The ADF team see this conference as an opportunity to encourage people to think critically about the role of social enterprise for African nations' development, and how they can become involved in fostering community-focused activities in their local environment. With the Alumni and Friends funding, the ADF hope to make this event as successful and as long-term as possible.
Ain’t I A Woman Collective
The Ain’t I A Woman Collective (AIWC) is a new initiative born out of the SOAS Women Society that provides a platform for primarily black women of African descent to be heard. We aim to promote black women’s art, writing and well-being. They aim to launch their collective in March 2015 at which they will host a variety of black women poets and singers as well as a keynote speaker to showcase their art. The launch will also include workshops and a panel discussion on black feminism. The venture is being started by Manuela Schwarz, who is currently the Black Officer for the SOAS Students’ Union and oversaw the organization of black history Month in October 2014.
SOAS Sylheti Project
Sylheti is an under-described and under-studied language, spoken by 7 million people in Bangladesh and by approximately 400 000 people in the UK. Despite being spoken by 10,300,000 people worldwide there are no comprehensive dictionaries or grammars of the language, mainly due to the dominant political history that views Sylheti as a ‘degenerated dialect’ of standard Bengali. For two years now the SOAS Sylheti Project has been working together with the Surma Community Centre in Camden to document the Sylheti language as spoken by the various generations of members of a local community. With £500 from the Alumni & Friends fund, the SOAS Sylheti Project will develop a ‘talking’ dictionary app to show that Sylheti is significantly different from Bengali in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation and inspire the younger generation of Sylheti speakers in the
UK to take pride in their heritage, language and identity.
Entitled Magazine is a quarterly digital periodical that looks at issues of race, gender and culture. This projects aims to create a platform to explore issues that are not tackled by mainstream media and each issue focuses on a single theme which is explored through various forms of expression such as prose, poetry, vlogs, photos, visual art, and cartoons. The Entitled team have already published multiple issues, getting a large number of contributions from around the world each time. With Alumni and Friends funding, the Entitled team hope to host events at the launches of their quarterly issues and fund special issue projects. One of these special issue projects, Tangents, which explores the issue of intersectionality has already been published.
2013/2014 Endorsed Projects:
SOAS Beekeepers, a collection of students and staff from across the Bloomsbury Colleges, will be establishing two beehives and a garden on the roof of the research building at SOAS. They will be running educational events with the profit from their honey to engage study and staff in ‘all things bee’.
Launched in 2014, HYSTERIA is a feminist magazine which reflects an interest in gender issues among SOAS students. The students behind HYSTERIA felt SOAS lacked a visible, open and accessible feminist platform where important debates are brought into light. With plans to collaborate with SOAS Women’s Society, SOAS Feminist Society and Agender Society, HYSTERIA aims to showcase debates, poems and articles on relevant feminist issues.
Overland Travel Society
With a team of 20 SOAS students, the Overland Travel Society uses local transport connections and land transport to reduce the impact of travelling on the environment. The society offers fantastic opportunities for students to travel together in an environmentally-friendly manner whilst embracing other cultures. Additionally, Year Abroad Overland is a website that provides interactive maps and transport timetables for overland routes to all of Year Abroad destinations offered at SOAS. The website is accompanied by a booklet also containing practical information for the road. The project helps SOAS students turn their dreams of epic travel into a reality.
The SOAS Bazaar is a market consisting of stalls set up by students for students selling or exhibiting goods or services. It is a platform for students to test out their products, meet new people and develop their business ideas. The Bazaar creates a monthly student (and staff) community which actively creates connections within the SOAS body. Additionally, the SOAS Bazaar encourages entrepreneurship in all forms and provides a space of exchange and learning.