LBF Research Fellowship: Building A National Film Archive

Research Grant

LBF Research Fellowship – 2018

Announced in Summer 2018, the Lahore Biennale Foundation Research Fellowship was open to any individual or collective interested in researching any aspect of modern or contemporary art and visual culture of Pakistan. Award selection was based on the clear identification of the research methodology and archives used, and the relevance of the topic in contributing new knowledge and insight.

A public announcement of the award resulted in many submitted applications. The final selection was made by an independent jury. Artist Hira Nabi was the recipient. The total amount awarded for the 2018 cycle was Rs. 300,000.

The distinguished mentor for this grant was Sonal Khullar, who worked with Hira Nabi during 2018-2019.

Building A National Film Archive

Hira Nabi set out to organize a list of resources that could serve as components of a distributed national film archive in Pakistan. Private collections, provincial and state archives, and television archives hold materials, which when organized and viewed collectively can provide a blueprint towards an assemblage of the film industry and the various movements within it. Nabi identified key collections and by gaining access to them began the initial steps in data gathering. This was followed by a preliminary mode of cataloguing the material. This work proved essential in making the case for support towards building a national film archive. In conducting this research, Nabi made contact with individuals and organizations that have taken on similar projects, seeking to collect and organize Pakistani films, either in their own collections, or via databases in Afghanistan, and in India.


A research paper outlining major findings of the research and its methodology is in progress.

Distinguished Mentor for this grant:

Sonal Khullar
Associate Professor
University of Pennsylvania

Sonal Khullar is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (University of California Press, 2015), which received the Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize of the Association of Asian Studies in 2017. She is writing a book, The Art of Dislocation, on conflict, collaboration, and globalization in contemporary art from South Asia. Her research has been supported by the College Art Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Japan Foundation.