Written by: Residency Bib-Vrede

January 19, 2022


Are you interested in engaging a library in deconstructing and reconstructing its work into a space that welcomes a large variety of views? And are you eager to explore how this year’s BHM theme ‘power of assembly’ can be applied in a librarian context? BHM is bringing back its library residency program in collaboration with Bib Vrede in Borgerhout, Antwerp. Take a look at the open call for this year’s residency program here or download the open call in Dutch!

bib vrede

In March 2021, when the pandemic put a pause on our daily ways of living, five residents took on the challenge of reflecting on the topic of decolonization/decoloniality in the context of a library. For a month, these residents investigated, observed and discussed the collections and work of Bib Sophia. During weekly meetings amongst themselves and with the library’s team, they came up with a report that ranged from identifying current gaps, opportunities to grow within this thematic and a list of books, CD/DVDs, cartoons etc. that the library’s collection -and hence the people making use of it- benefit from. Midway through the residency, the residents sat down with PhD Fellow Baudouin Mena Sebu to discuss how they went about the start of this process as well as what they planned on doing next. A second discussion was organized, this time with video artist and writer Maryam Kamal Hedayat, to reflect upon the process to seek answers as to how Bib Sophia can engage itself in a decolonial framework. At last, their thinking-process was also turned into a small documentary, click here to watch it.

This year, BHM is bringing back this residency program, but this time in Antwerp with BHM’s 2022 theme ‘power of assembly’. This theme encompasses the documentation of different ways Black people in Belgium have gathered throughout the years and acted in concert to raise awareness, call into question, and explore new ways of thinking, acting, being, creating, exploring and caring. This residency allows you to co-create past and present efforts made by Black people and how this can enrich our lives. Below, you will find all necessary information concerning the residency.

Black History Month Belgium 2022 is all about collecting. Collecting as bringing together collections, of people, of residents. For Bib Vrede in Borgerhout, this is a good opportunity to take a close look at its operations and collection.

Bib Vrede is therefore organising a residency. Four young residents between 15 and 30 years of age will investigate the functioning of the library during Black History Month in March '22. They will critically examine the collection and the activities that take place in the library. They pay attention to gaps, mispurchases, contradictions, thresholds and other obstacles. They are invited to think about questions such as: In what way can a contemporary collection and activities bring people together? How do we strengthen the voice of Borgerhout's and Antwerp's black writers, filmmakers and cultural players? What role can Bib Vrede play in relation to its community? How can the library be a more active player in bringing people together?

The residents will search for answers during four separate days between March and May '22. These proposals can range from a critical commentary on the content to an artistic piece. Subsequently, the research results and the artistic interventions will be discussed during two public moments. For the purpose of sustainability and knowledge sharing, we will make a recording of both discussions.

Do you have expertise or a passion for a theme that can bring about valuable ideas and shifts within a library context? Then send your profile and short motivation to with the subject 'Black History Month' before 6 February. A fee of €500 is provided for each resident. The specific dates in March to May will be determined in consultation. We will inform you during the second week of February!

Still in doubt? Check out the aftermovie (in Dutch only!) of the residency program that took place during the previous BHM edition in bib Sophia in Schaarbeek (Brussels).

For more info:; and