August 23, 2022 | 10:15 am GMT / 12:15 pm CET | Online
litafrika: poetry from a continent
30 minutes with Sylvia Arthur
Strauhof Zurich, live broadcast
The “Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora” (LOATAD) in Accra, Ghana, is a library, but also an archive, a museum, a writing residency, and a research facility: It is dedicated to the collection and visualization of authors from Africa and the diaspora from the late 19th century to the present. The director and initiator Sylvia Arthur from LOATAD is on this afternoon and gives an insight into the house and her work. In English; as a live broadcast.
As part of the exhibition «litafrika: poetry of a continent».
August 6, 2022 | 6:30 pm EST | Online
I’m honoured to be giving a presentation on the enduring legacy of iconic African-American writer, Ralph Ellison (1913-1994) and his contemporary relevance/resonance at The Eighth Annual Ralph Ellison Foundation Gala on 6 August 2022 at 6.30 pm EST.
The Gala, on the theme “Hope and Healing,” will take place online and will feature talks, readings, and performances from scholars, writers, and artists from around the world.
Find out more here.
“We’re all connected through literature; we’re all connected over generations through ancestry, through culture, through history, through so many things. I think when people come here, that’s what they take away most[ly], a feeling of connection beyond anything else. And if that’s what I’ve been able to do, then I’m happy with that for sure.“
In the Wake of the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora’s inaugural symposium in April, AMAKA speaks to founder Sylvia Arthur to learn about her lifelong love for reading and her unexpected journey from book collector to library founder and activist.
June 14, 2022 | 2 pm GMT | Online
“Archiving Global Black Lives”
With a focus on the upcoming Juneteenth celebration, the Black Studies program will be curating a virtual Juneteenth series focusing on art, culture and resistance within the African Diaspora.
This series will provide participants with a more holistic grounding in the interconnectedness of global Black identities, the specific and complex issues that various communities face, and how they cultivate Black joy and celebrate Black beauty and life. It also allows for cross-continental conversations and reflections as participants will learn from community leaders, educators, artists, and activists and consider how they can approach similar issues within their own respective communities. Through film screenings, panel discussions, virtual tours, and presentations, participants will explore the themes of Jazz and resistance; food justice, African traditions and foodways; archiving global Black lives; cinema; and Black speculative art with speakers from Philadelphia, Brazil, South Africa, and Ghana.
Find out more and check out the full programme here.
April 28, 2022 | 10:15 am GMT / 12:15 pm CET | In Person
“Creating The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora”
The Dominican missionaries in Guatemala observed that the Indians were passionately fond of dancing and singing. The joyousness which originally existed in their nature or temperament has become extinct. The usual tenour of their lives seems to be accompanied by a quiet, subdued melancholy.
- It is not improbable that, as a consequence of several centuries of Spanish domination, the aboriginal races have sunk into a dull and apathetic state.
- It is however possible that other influences acted upon the taciturn and wild natures of these tribes. The innate disposition of the natives to worship idols in Guatemala was found to be equally existing with the Mayas in Yucatan, who also had the custom of making pilgrimages to the shrines.
- It is mentioned by Landa that the pilgrims stopped when passing near any of the deserted or ruined temples, and were accustomed to mutter prayers, and offer incense. This custom was in accordance with the acts of devotion which I saw practised by the Tzendal Indians in Chiapas before the ruined walls of the church at Bachajon.
There are circumstances connected with the domination of the Aztecs, and possibly also with that of their predecessors the Quiché-Toltecs, which require to be noticed. It is unquestionable that slavery would have been the fate of any tribe or race conquered by North American Indians. But the fact of slaves or captives being bought and sold for the purpose of being killed and offered to the gods is extraordinary. Great numbers of the natives were annually sacrificed, and astonishing acts of cannibalism were committed. Whatever may have been the hardships inflicted by the Spaniards upon the Mexican Indians, it is satisfactory to be assured that the discovery of America, and the conquests of Cortes put an end to the most horrible condition of things that has ever been known to have existed in any part of the world.
There are, however, other facts to be taken into consideration. It has been assumed that there was a condition of comparative civilisation amongst the ruling tribes, which seemed to be in such a progressive state as to lead to the conclusion that there were elements of knowledge which might have been so far developed in the course of time as to have brought these Indians into the ranks of civilised nations. With regard to this subject it should be observed that when the Spaniards conquered Central America, the progress that may have been partially made had already ceased. The monasteries at Palenque and in Yucatan had been abandoned. Even when they were flourishing, the knowledge that was taught did not extend to the people. It was confined to the priesthood, the caciques, and the few scholars who were trained for the purpose of interpreting the signs and characters by which information was spread abroad. It was by one of these interpreters that Cortes was made acquainted with the conspiracy that was being organized against him by Guatimozin during the march to Honduras. How or in what manner this comparative intelligence arose suddenly in the land is a problem of the greatest difficulty.
April 9, 2022 | 11:00 am GMT | In Person
“The People’s Republic of Books”
I’m looking forward to speaking at #TEDxAshesiUniversity on Saturday, 9 April and sharing some thoughts on the subversive power of books in disrupting notions of citizenship and nurturing transnational identities.
If you’re interested in attending, you can find out more and register here.
Sylvia Arthur is the Founder of the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) in Accra, Ghana, a library, archive, and museum dedicated to collecting the work of African and Diaspora writers from the late 19th-century to the present day. During her research trip in Zurich, Switzerland from 14 April to 12 May 2022, Sylvia will visit various Swiss literary institutions located both in and outside of major cities to learn more about sustainability models.
Sylvia will base her research primarily at Literaturhaus Zürich, where she hopes to learn about building, running, and sustaining a large-scale literary institution with particular reference to funding, branding and marketing, programming, and audience attraction and retention. She will also visit nearby institutions and organisations including Strauhof and Wyborada in St. Gallen, which like LOATAD, have niche literary focuses. Sylvia then also plans to spend a considerable period of her trip at Fondation Jan Michalski, where she is interested in learning about the residency programme and how the organisation operates within the rural context.
A secondary dimension of Sylvia’s trip is to investigate the role literary institutions play in the placemaking of a town or city, and how such institutions develop meaningful relationships with communities that include local residents as well as attract wider national and international audiences.
Sylvia says, “My hope is that this trip will mark the beginning of a relationship of mutual learning, support, and exchange between Swiss literary institutions and LOATAD.”
March 11, 2022 | 7:00 pm GMT | Online
“LOATAD’s Women’s Oral Archive”
“Join us on Friday, 11th March 2022, as we welcome Sista Sylvia Arthur – LOATAD – Library of Afrika & The Afrikan Diaspora to commence our AWHM presentation on “Library of Africa and the African Diaspora Women’s Oral Archive” which incorporates the stories of everyday Ghanaian women into the Library’s archive and restores them to history.”
To attend, register via Eventbrite here.
January 28, 2022 | 12 pm GMT | Online
“LOATAD’s Women’s Oral Archive: The What, The Why, The How”