Proscovia Svärd, Network Co-ordinator. Photo: Maria Elisson.

New network for Africanists

A new network for Nordic Africanists is now launched. However, much more needs to be done before everything will work according to plans. The first challenge is to recruit members and secure funding. The Nordic Africa Research Network, NARN, is an independent and member based association.

“The purpose of NARN is to act in the interest of individual researchers and scholars and also to promote research on African issues,” says Carin Norberg, former director of the Nordic Africa Institute, NAI. She, together with Africanists from all Nordic countries took the initiative to create NARN.

NARN builds on two previous networks that are no longer active. One of the networks still lives on in the form of the “Nordic Journal of Africa Studies” that will be integrated with NARN.

"NARN differs from NAI because it is a member-based organization whose activities will be dictated by its members and not the Swedish government like the case is with NAI. NARN will conduct activities proposed by its members and these may include among others; works shops, conferences and seminars. The network will also create a database that will be made available to its members,” says network coordinator Proscovia Svärd.

The launch is a soft start for NARN and the web site is still under construction but is meant to be a platform where researchers can exchange ideas and interact.

Carin Norberg and Proscovia Svärd are now applying for funds for further development of the network. The funding is primarily needed to mobilize members and institutions. Long term financial supporters are also in focus.

This year NARN is being sponsored and  housed by NAI but next year it will have to stand on its own. A fully operational network hinges on accessing funds, Svärd argues.

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