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African Linguistics and Literatures

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Awards for our staff and students

November 2018: Prof Dr Dymitr Ibriszimow for the Universitätsmedallie Universität BayreuthHide

Prof. Dr. Dymitr Ibriszimow has been professor of African Linguistics (chair of Afrikanistik II -African languages beyond Niger-Congo), since 1999. He studied Arabic and African Linguistics at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He then did his doctoral studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland, where he obtained his Doctoral Degree in African Linguistics. After that, he went on to become a Research Fellow at the Oriental Institute, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.

On, 16 November 2018, the University of Bayreuth has awarded Prof. Dr. Dymitr Ibriszimow with the Universitätsmedaille (University Medal) in recognition of his lasting and binding commitment in the field of African Studies at the University of Bayreuth and the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS).


​Brady Blackburn for DAAD AwardHide

Brady Blackburn was born in Shawnee, Kansas, USA. He is currently doing his Master of Arts in African Verbal and Visual Arts at the University of Bayreuth. On 9 November 2018, Brady won the DAAD Prize (German Academic Exchange Service), which is awarded annually to foreign students who study in Bayreuth with outstanding achievements and make a significant contribution to intercultural dialogue.

He has been doing work in Ghana, partnering with a rural village to build a language arts center that includes a library of appropriate literature, an outdoor performance area, and a classroom for literacy classes and writing workshops in both English and Akan-Twi. This has been through the NGO that Brady and his wife started together, called Untold International.

The DAAD Prize was a great honor, and it has allowed Brady and his wife to buy plane tickets back to Ghana to be part of the inauguration and grand opening of the language arts center, which is set to happen in March 2019. “The community is very excited to have this center open”, says Brady. It has been under construction for two years and It is the only library for miles around. It will likely attract eager learners from the surrounding villages as well.

​Annachiara Raia for Culture Award Bavaria Hide

Annachiara Raia, born in 1988 in Naples, has been a Research Associate in Literatures in African Languages since April 2017. She obtained a BA in “Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa”, and an MA in “Languages, History and Cultures of Mediterranean and Islamic Countries” at the University of Naples, L'Orientale.

Afterwards, for her PhD thesis, which she pursued in a cotutelle framework of the University of Naples and Bayreuth University, she worked on the Swahili version of the story of Joseph. She defended it in January 2017. She has furthered her academic training through field research in Kenya; a Summer School on ‘World Literature’ in Lisbon; and seminars on ‘World Philologies’ held in Naples.

On 8 November 2018, Annachiara Raia was honoured with the Culture Award Bavaria as the best graduate of the University of Bayreuth for her dissertation "Utendi wa Yusuf - A critical Text edition of the Joseph story and study on its adaptation to the East African Swahili Coast ". 

​Georgina Maxim shortlisted for Henrike Grohs Art AwardHide

Georgina Maxim, born 1980 in Harare, Zimbabwe is an artist and Curator. Georgina is a Co-founder and Co-Director of Village Unhu, an open art studio collective created in 2012 by Misheck Masamvu, Gareth Nyandoro and herself that provides studio spaces, residency programs, workshops and exhibitions to artists.

She studies towards her Master in African Verbal and Visual Arts – Languages, Curation and Arts at the University of Bayreuth.

Georgina Maxim’s work combines weaving, stitch work and the utilization of found textiles creating objects that evade definition. The dresses are deconstructed, and at times reconstructed to find new ways of giving tribute to and reflection upon the person that owned the original garment. Maxim describes it as ‘the memory of’.

See more of Georgina and her art on Youtube:


In February 2018, Georgina was shortlisted for the Henrike Grohs Art Award, a biennial prize dedicated to artists who are living and working in Africa and practicing in the field of visual arts.

“Being nominated for the Henrike Grohs Award came much of a surprise to me”, says Georgina. It meant recognition and it meant existence amongst fellow artists that had a story to share without fear or favour. But mostly it meant upholding the legacy of the late Henrike Grohs. She shares the nomination of the award with the artists of Village Unhu who have been patient and believed in the struggle to grow together and to be willing to feed from each other in the confines of Village Unhu as a collective. 

More information: https://www.goethe.de/ins/za/en/kul/sup/hen.html

​Clarissa Vierke for Heinz-Meier-Leibnitz AwardHide

In June 2013, Clarissa Vierke received the Heinz-Meier-Leibnitz Award for her outstanding research on Swahili Poetry.  She has been selected as one of nine young researchers for the award a committee from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The prize has been annually awarded since 1978 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious acknowledgement of young researchers in Germany. It is nominated after the physician and former DFG president Professor Heinz Meier-Leibnitz.

More information: https://www.uni-bayreuth.de/de/universitaet/presse/pressemitteilungen/2013/101-HML-Preis-Clarissa-Vierke.pdf

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