The Karun Thakar Fund

About The Fund

The Karun Thakar Fund is presented by Karun Thakar in collaboration with the V&A Museum. Funded by Soane Britain and anonymous donors, the fund offers scholarships and grants of up to £10,000 to students, early career researchers and emerging practitioners working anywhere in the world on any aspect of Asian or African textiles and dress.

The V&A holds one of the largest museum collections of Asian textiles and dress in the world, and the extensive private collections of Karun Thakar span the textiles and dress of both Asia and Africa. Using both collections as points of departure, the fund promotes materials-based, object-led learning and encourages new, meaningful, and innovative approaches to Asian and African textile and dress studies.

The Karun Thakar Fund aims to enrich the fields of Asian and African textiles and dress by supporting new and original approaches to study and practice, foregrounding fresh perspectives and ground-breaking research.

The Karun Thakar Fund launched in July 2021 with scholarships offered to BA, MA and PhD level student practitioners and researchers studying Asian or African textiles or dress either in the UK or internationally. One-time awards of up to £10,000 can be used towards tuition fees or maintenance costs. In future the fund will offer additional awards of up to £10,000 in the form of project grants supporting Asian and African textiles/fashion-based research, practice, exhibitions, events, image licensing and more. Eligibility and application guidance for the project grants coming soon.

About Karun Thakar

Karun has been collecting antique textiles for most of his life. Growing up watching his mother run a couture shop, he learned to sew, embroider, knit and crochet from her, and began his collection in earnest upon leaving university in the early 1980s. Asian and African textiles are the object of his deepest interest, from 14th-century Indian trade cloths to narrow loom weavings from West Africa.

“I am really excited to see what light we can shine through this fund,” says Karun. “To help with the selection of scholarship funds, we have formed a distinguished board with expertise in museum curatorship, education, publishing and the commercial sector of the textile world. We will additionally bring in specialists from academia, artists, and other practitioners in the field. Huge thanks to Soane Britain and other donors; without their generosity this fund would not be possible.”

“The committee is looking at innovative ways to reach potential applicants who have new and radical approaches. The setting up of a fund is my modest contribution to bringing unheard voices to this field, supporting people in the field, while transferring my passion for fabric to new and younger generations,” says Karun.

Learn more about Karun Thakar and the creation of The Karun Thakar Fund on our Journal here.

How to apply

Applications for The Karun Thakar Fund are now open and applicants are invited to apply. Read more about how to apply, the application process and selection criteria here