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Institute of African Studies

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Units of the IAS

Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence 

The Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence: Reconfiguring African Studies was established in 2019 as part of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments. The more than 160 members of the research network today represent a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and the diversity of academic traditions from three continents. The Cluster was founded with the aim of developing new conceptual impulses for African studies and reconfiguring its structure. The close research cooperation with African partner institutions, above all with the African Cluster Centres (ACCs) at Joseph Ki-Zerbo University (Burkina Faso), the University of Lagos (Nigeria), Moi University (Kenya), and Rhodes University (South Africa), is fundamental to this. The Digital Research Environment (DRE) connects the researchers and enables them to work together on research material.
The Cluster offers an international fellowship programme through the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies.
Link to the homepage of the Cluster of Excellence


Founded in 1981, the Iwalewahaus is part of the University of Bayreuth and a unit of the IAS.
The Iwalewahaus collection includes 12,000 contemporary works of fine and popular art from Africa, the African diaspora, Asia, and the Pacific region. It thus houses the largest institutional collection of contemporary African art in Europe.
The 2,300 m² of the Iwalewahaus include offices and archives and offer space for exhibitions, lectures, films, conferences, artist talks, artist residencies, and workshops.
Iwalewa means "character is beauty" and is a proverb from Yorübá, a language spoken by one of the three major cultural groups in south-west Nigeria. The name of the house goes back to its founding director Uli Beier and his wife, the English artist Georgina Beier.
Link to the homepage of the Iwalewahaus

FAZ Baustelle

Research Center "Society, Technology and Ecology in Africa" (under construction)

The Africa Research Centre (FZA) is the third unit of the IAS. This centre brings together inter- and transdisciplinary research initiatives on the topics of society, technology, and ecology in Africa. The centre's joint work focuses on social, political, economic, and ecological transformation processes and the resulting practical challenges in the 21st century. The FZA is thus both a centre for Africa-related basic research and a think tank for current issues of a global world in which the African continent plays a formative role. The cooperative research work is supported and driven by the innovative design of the workplaces as open creative labs and the ultra-modern digital environment of the FZA.
​The FZA is managed by a three-member board of directors: Prof. Matthias Christen, Prof. Cyrus Samimi and Prof. Eva Spies. 

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