Bathsheba Bryant-Tarpeh: Young women of color have a unique perspective that should be valued, and we deserve a seat at the table

Meet WANDA Woman Bathsheba Bryant-Tarpeh, M.A., a doctoral candidate in the Department of African Studies and Research at Howard University, specializing in Public Policy and Development.

Supported by the USAID Feed the Future program and motivated by her desire to advance the well-being of communities within the black diaspora, Bathsheba performed her six-month dissertation fieldwork in northern Ghana where she focused on the gender implications of land-use change as a result of large-scale commercial agribusiness.

Despite rural African women being put forward as the main beneficiaries of policy changes that underwrite agrarian transformation, women are often left most vulnerable when commercial agri-business interests are put above the interests of smallholder farmers.

Bathsheba worked directly with local farmers, both men, and women, to provide strategies to maximize their productivity. 

 


What are you studying at Howard University?

 

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of African Studies and Research.  My specialization is Public Policy and Development.

Why do you think this area of study is crucial to the development of your country and the African continent as a whole?

 

As an African American, I believe strongly in collaborating and forging relationships, networks, and organizational and professional work in helping to advance the lives of all peoples of African descent within the diaspora and on the African continent.

As the world continues to become more integrated, it is important that national development policies and international agendas are designed for the benefit of people on the continent. The Diaspora can play a critical role in the development of the continent and we must see this as a collective challenge.

As Black people, we cannot be fully liberated until we ensure our fellow sisters and brothers are free, from the United States to the continent, to Asia and Europe and the Caribbean. Learning from each other and building coalitions whether through business, non-profits, educational institutions, is a key strategy in the era of globalization.

Tell us about the project you worked on in Ghana. 

 

I was a U.S. Borlaug Global Food Security Fellow, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Leadership Program.  As a U.S. Borlaug Fellow in Ghana, I was provided financial and institutional support for my six-month dissertation fieldwork.

I am really interested in how the advanced global economy and international policies impact the livelihoods of rural, agrarian communities, especially for women and their families.  This is an incredibly important topic because women play such a significant role in providing food and managing the nutritional needs of her family.

My project focused on the gender implications of land-use change as a result of large-scale commercial agribusiness. I conducted a focused ethnographic case study on Dagomba communities in northern Ghana that were affected by the biofuel industry collapse in the country.

I am really interested in bringing the experiences of the women and men to the fore and how they are adapting to changes in their environment and the implications on their food and nutrition security.   

Often times during agrarian transformation, women are more vulnerable to losing access to land within societies that are already discriminatory against women with respect to land-use rights.  Additionally, the large-scale agribusiness, in this case, was destructive to the environment, damaged the soils through use of harsh chemicals and pesticides, and deforested vital trees like the Shea tree and Dawa Dawa tree.

These trees are significant culturally and also economically and nutritionally as products derived from these trees are a great source of income for women and provide nutritional and medicinal benefits to the communities in which I worked.

What did your experience in Ghana teach you? 

Being in Ghana was my first time on the African Continent.  As a woman of African descent, being in Ghana was one of the most exciting, meaningful, and transformative experiences of my life.

The beauty of the country and the warmth and hospitality of Ghanaians and the friendships I made was such an incredible part of my time in Ghana.  Visiting Cape Coast and Elmina Slave Castles and the Pikworo Slave Camp in the Upper East Region, near Burkina Faso allowed me to learn about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from the African context and it helped me connect the dots, so to speak, about our history and was one of the most memorable parts of my trip.

On a personal level, it made me want even more to discover my roots through genetic testing.

Academically, through my collaboration with other students and researchers in the country and most importantly, my work in the villages, I learned that I truly want to work in the arena of helping to improve the lives and welfare of vulnerable communities.

What intrigues you the most about the people you have met and supported through your work?

 

What intrigues me most about the community members in the villages in which I worked was the sincere level of gratitude shown toward me.

The communities were very much aware of their challenges and were so open to sharing their experiences with me and together we devised ways to improve their livelihoods in the short-term through creating farmer’s groups.

This was not an initial plan but evolved, as a response to community needs. I was able to provide informational sessions to communities, both women and men’s groups, on how to register their farming groups and provided strategies to maximize their productivity, how to get technical training from the local agricultural extension and gain support from the local assemblies for community needs.

8 International residencies for African visual artists in 2018

 Are you a visual artist or art student who dreams of traveling the world?

While every other day we read one article or the other of people quitting their jobs to travel the world, sadly that will just never be a reality for many people.

But that does not mean we should write our dreams off completely because International residency programs are one way for you to explore new places across the world!

Without further Ado, here are 8 thrilling international residencies you might want to look out for.

1. Est-Nort-Est, résidence d´artistes

The top priority of Est-Nort-Est is to encourage artistic research and experimentation in contemporary art. Artists will have access to an individual studio and share a collective house with the other artists.

The program places importance on working in new cultural spaces, and dialogue between artists of different backgrounds.

The Est-Nort-Est residencies take place three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn.

Location: Québec, Canada

Style: Contemporary Art

Media: Visual Art, Sculpture, Textile Art, New Media, Painting, Installation

Duration: Two months

Funding: $1215 stipend and lodging provided.

2. Art Noise Travel Residency

While many residencies typically take place in one country throughout the course of the residency, art noise travel residency will take place in 3 different countries, although within Africa, if you have ever wanted to learn and travel, this might be something you are interested in.

The Art Noise residency is open to not only visual artists but designers and art theorists as well.

Artists will receive guidance from more experienced colleagues in the residency. In return, all artists will create at least one project per country inspired by a culture in that country and presentations are expected.

Selected artists will also have access to a private studio and apartment, cultural spots, tourist locations and gallery spaces.

Location: About 3 African countries

Media: Visual Art, Sculpture, New Media, Printmaking, design, art theist.

Duration: A little over three months.

Funding: Studio provided. Allowance and Accommodation available.

 

3. Villa Lena Foundation

The Villa Lena Foundation is a non-profit that supports contemporary artists working in art, music, film, and various other creative endeavors.

Each year, they invite applicants to live and work in a 19th-century villa in the Tuscan countryside for two months in order to promote multi-disciplinary dialogue between professional artists of all levels and backgrounds.

The Villa Lena Foundation is a hub for new research, collaborative discussion, and innovative ideas.

Selected artists will stay on a thousand acre estate with sweeping views of vineyards and olive groves. Artists are asked to donate a work to the Villa at the end of their stay, where it will be displayed on the property.

Location: Tuscany, Italy

Media: Visual Art, music, film, literature, fashion and other creative disciplines.

Duration: Two months.

Funding: Lodging, studio, and half-board included (breakfast and dinner).

 

4. 360 Xochi Quetzal Artist Residency

360 Xochi Quetzal Artist Residency is a fairly new organization that provides free housing, studio space and board for its residents.

Based in central Mexico, this charming mountain town is home to many artists who gather in the cafes, ride horses around the mountains and gather by the lake to watch the pelicans.

Artists are lodged in a hacienda style home with both individual rooms and studios and shared living and dining areas.

All artists provided with a desk and wi-fi, painters get professional easels, ceramic artists have access to a kiln, and a new floor loom was just obtained for weavers.

Location: Chapala, Mexico

Media: Visual Art, New Media, Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, Textile Art, Photography.

Duration: One month.

Funding: Enjoy free housing, wi-fi, all utilities, laundry on the premises, and weekly maid service. Each resident also receives a $1,000 peso food stipend. You will only need to pay for your local transportation, entertainment, and additional food.

 

5. Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale

The Nordic Artists’ Center was established in 1998 and is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture to bring international artists in the visual arts together.

With the stunning, award-winning architecture with sweeping vistas, this residency attracts artists from all over the world to concentrate on their work while taking in the surroundings. Over 1520 artists applied for spots last year, with only five residencies available for each session 

SLA Tip: make sure your application is in tip-top shape before submitting.

The center’s facilities include private residences, wireless internet access, a shared workshop, a machinery hall for woodwork, a darkroom, and a ventilated room for painting, etc.

The workshop is also furnished with welding equipment and facilities for printmaking. English and Norwegian are spoken.

Location: Dale Sunnfjord, Norway

Media: Visual Art, Design, Architecture, and Curators.

Duration: Two or three months.

Funding: The residency at the Nordic Artists’ Centre includes a monthly grant of 1200 USD, living and working space, as well as support for travel expenses up to 725 USD, which will be reimbursed on arrival.

6. COLECTIVO R.A.R.O

In this new type of Artist-in-residence program, artists choose at least two different studio/workshop spaces to visit in order to complete a proposed project, deepen techniques, and exhibit work.

With many studios to take residence in, artists have the opportunity for rich exchange between experienced and emerging artists alike.

This residency is for emerging, mid-career, and established artists of all disciplines.

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Media: Visual Art, New Media, Printmaking, Sculpture.

Duration: Two weeks minimum.

Funding: Depending on the case, R.A.R.O might be able to grant some scholarships to foreign artists. Find more information on their website.

 

7. MAK-Schindler Residency

West-coast wanderers can slip into a California state of mind while roosting in the Rudolph Schindler-designed Mackey Apartments.

Every year, the MAK-Schindler residency invites two artists and two architects to explore the intersection of culture and the built environment of Los Angeles. MAK steps in with a healthy monthly stipend and the LA connections to realize resident projects, which are made public through a final exhibition.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Media: Visual Art, New Media, Printmaking, Sculpture.

Duration: Six months

 

8. Richard Rogers Fellowship at Residency

This research-based residency programme was launched in October 2016 by the Harvard Graduate School of Design team.

Taking inspiration from its namesake, Lord Rogers, the Fellowship does not distinguish between disciplines; any accomplished professional or scholar whose work addresses the built environment is encouraged to apply.

Six fellows will be selected each year for a 12-week residency in Rogers’ famed Wimbledon House – which he built for his parents in the 1960s. Next year will also see the Modernist building filled with lectures, exhibitions, and parties.

This residency is for emerging, mid-career, and established artists of all disciplines

Location: Wimbledon House, London, UK

Media: Visual Art, New Media, Printmaking, Sculpture.

Duration: Three months


Do you know of any special opportunities or events lined up for 2018? Share it with us here.