The LBF Research Fellowship annually provides a scholarship to an individual researcher to conduct original research on any aspect of modern and contemporary art and visual culture in Pakistan. Applicants are welcome to propose their own topics related to art, performance, urban aesthetics, and so forth. The research process is generally expected to adhere to normative academic ethical guidelines, especially when engaging with human subjects.

The award is competitive and selected by a jury. The research findings will be presented in their final form as an investigative report or a scholarly academic paper. The jury will assist in advising the researcher to present the work in accordance with international scholarly norms. The archival unearthing and research findings will be made available to future researchers, in the spirit of contributing to building an open and collaborative research ecosystem. The jury will also assist the researcher in finding an appropriate affiliation with a Pakistani academic or research institution for a period of one semester, if needed.

The jury for 2015 consists of Iftikhar Dadi (Cornell University, USA), Nosheen Ali (Habib University, Karachi), and Hammad Nasar (Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong).

The award amount for 2015 consists of a research stipend of Rs 350,000 to cover living and research expenses. An additional amount is reserved to cover administrative costs in hosting the researcher with an affiliate scholarly organization. This is the highest support being awarded by the LBF organization for any of its projects.

The Research Fellowship Award 2015: A Digital Archive of Modernist Artist Zubeida Agha by Saira Ansari
Saira Ansari’s project will create a digital archive of the artist Zubeida Agha (1922-1997), including published texts, essays, catalogues, and miscellaneous ephemera that surround her legacy. It will contribute towards developing a historical and academic narrative of the artist’s work and her engagements with the Pakistani and international art scene. Zubeida Agha was a pioneering modernist artist who played multiple and formative roles in Pakistan’s art history and was the first director of the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Rawalpindi. She played a significant role in the creation of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts and the National Art Gallery, in addition to being a major benefactor to the national collection.

LBF’s Collaboration with Asia Art Archive (AAA)
As part of the fellowship, Ansari will visit Asia Art Archive (AAA) in Hong Kong and develop a plan for her research in consultation with the AAA team. A selection of the material that is digitized as a result of the fellowship will be available on AAA’s website.

Asia Art Archive is an independent non-profit organization initiated in 2000 in response to the urgent need to document and make accessible the multiple recent histories of art in the region. With an international Board of Directors, an Advisory Board made up of noted scholars and curators, and an in-house research team, AAA has collated one of the most valuable collections of material on recent art in the region. It is open to the public free of charge and increasingly accessible from its website. More than a static repository waiting to be discovered, AAA instigates critical thinking and dialogue for a wide range of audiences via public, research, residential and educational programs.

About the Recipient
Saira Ansari
(b. 1982) is a researcher and writer with a BFA from the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore. Her curatorial projects include The importance of staying quiet (Yallay gallery, Hong Kong, 2014) and a collaborative project with Umer Butt (Grey Noise) that presented minimal art from the 1950s to date, featuring prominent modern and contemporary practitioners from Pakistan and its diaspora. Ansari is currently the Director of Communications at The Third Line (Dubai), as well as the Art Editor for Papercuts (a South Asian literary journal). She has contributed to various publications such as Sohbet: Journal of Contemporary Arts and Culture Vol. 2 (Pakistan, 2011) and most recently to PIX: The Pakistan Issue (India, 2015) and Anthology of Essays on Language and Accent, commissioned by THE STATE magazine and Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE for the exhibition Accented, curated by Murtaza Vali (2015).