Get Valerie to Oxford!

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues, Art enthusiasts and Supporters!

I am a Tanzanian visual artist, curator and writer based in Tanzania. As a self-taught visual artist, I am committed to aligning myself completely to my practice and integrating in every way possible with the talented community of artists I have been honored to work with, teach and collaborate with. Within this process I identified various gaps in my art community that is perpetuated in the continental struggle to establish the visual art as a vital part of our economies and social ecosystems. 

At the beginning of the year, I applied for my Masters of Fine art at Oxfords art department, The Ruskin School of Fine art - a program that only accepts 14 students a year, a process that has taken me 2 years to prepare for. With the help and advice of many! Having the conscientiousness and consciousness of both a curator and creator - the tailored MFA program will allow me to create my own learning pathway - meet and learn from excellent researchers and supervisors, expand my art network exponentially and provide me with world class resources and education. I am the first Tanzanian to be accepted into this program; and I hope this opens the door for others. As someone who is dedicated to sharing information and learning through workshops and facilitation - I want to bring back this knowledge and more home! When we speak about decolonizing art and creating a progressive local art industry, where do we start? I believe it is in breaking the barriers that have been set by elitism and financial firewalls. 

Before I applied to Oxford, I had also considered the costs of this degree and had applied to the Chevening Leadership Scholarship - I was progressed to the final stages of the Scholarship, until I was asked to wait for there to be further funding. The whole process was extremely emotionally draining and lasted between November last year, up until last Friday (7th August), when finally I was informed that there were not able to accommodate me this year. Due to the very particular terms and conditions of this scholarship, I had not applied for any other funding for my course (finding funding to study art as a Tanzanian is a challenge to say the least). This news devastated me, but I refuse to be defeated as this is an opportunity I feel is bigger than me.

Art and culture to me is the purest and sincerest way of storytelling; storytelling is history in motion and history is what shapes society. With the right support and platforms, the cultural arts inspire, teach, expand and challenge communities to understand themselves and therefore create sustainable solutions. I will continuously strive to be a part of these solutions through expanding the education and accessibility of art and art practice.  

After careful consideration of all my options and the timeline I have decided to start a this funding campaign to raise the money I need to study within the coming month (by September 15th). I need USD 52,000 to cover my tuition (USD35,000), accommodation (USD8300) and living costs (USD6300), visa fees (USD 500) , and 1 return air ticket and other administration fees (USD1900). The timeline seems impossible, but I am a believer of making the impossible possible and am now requesting for YOU to contribute in whichever way you can, be that financially or just spreading my campaign link to anyone who may be in a position to help. For those who want to donate but cannot do so via this platform - please contact me for an alternative method.

All donations of $1000 and above will also be receiving a limited edition print of my artwork, which will be created in the next month, as a symbol of my gratitude and a physical manifestation of your investment. And every person who donates will appear in the acknowledgment section of my thesis. Also donations below $1000 will have a special heartfelt gift coming their way <3 Every single donation counts!

My acceptance letter, thesis proposal, and any other information is available to anyone who would like to see them. I have always told the people around me to dream, to take risks, to dare to fight for what they believe in. Starting this campaign has probably been one of the most challenging things I have done; we do not realize how entirely overwhelming asking for help can be, I had to keep reminding myself that this should not be a symbol of weakness, but a symbol of the strength of community - collaborating with my community is the only way that I see this moving forward. As an effort to stand in solidarity with other deserving and talented African women campaigning for their education right now please see below names of other trailblazers you can support - because we don’t move forward if some of us are left behind.

To my sisters, brothers, mentors, family, believers, friends and philanthropists. I thank you for the time and consideration you have taken for me. I cannot wait wait to take you all on this journey with me; this will be OUR DEGREE!

Covid-19 has taken so much from us and I am aware of the financial difficulties that we are facing so please if you cannot donate - you sharing with as many people as you can is just as valuable! I love you - take care of YOU and keep fighting for all those dreams that seem impossible. I deserve to win. You deserve to win. We all deserve to win.

Valerie Asiimwe Amani 

Campaigns to check out:

Marilu :




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