Diversity Art Forum - formerly AAVAA

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The Diversity Art Forum (formerly the African and Asian Visual Arts Archive - Aavaa). It is easy to assume that 'diversity' automatically will include every ethinc identities, secondly there is the assumption that it is linked to capitalism construction of diversity. Diversity Art Forum takes these considerations on board but aims to consider other ways that 'diversity' is constructed and used beyond the two points just mentioned. Think of diversity as a deformalisation of rigid criteria reduced to a succession and simultaneity. The archive element is one aspect of Diversity Art Forum. The organisation sees itself more as an active colloborator.

Diversity Art Forum has inherited archive material of Black, African and Asian artists living in Britain. To enhance that material the archive has now included new material from artists out side Britain and Western Europe. Diversity Art Forum have new material from artists working in sound art, internet as well other visual mediums.

Founded by artist and curator Eddie Chambers in 1989, Aavaa was originally an independent arts organisation based in Bristol. In 1995, the archive relocated to the University of East London (UEL) and is now housed at the newly built Docklands Campus in the School of Art and Visual Theory.

Scholarly research about artists, art forms and critical discourse is at the heart of Diversity Art Forum's objectives. In this sense the archive occupies a unique position, in that a dynamic and continuous relationship with its Contributors (artists, curators and writers) is needed for Diversity Art Forum's very existence. This relationship brings meaning to calling Diversity Art Forum a 'living' archive, evaluating 'live' documents.

In addition to running a research centre there is a programme of activities that aim to raise the profile of the contributors represented in the collection. The programme centres on the creation and dissemination of new material. The programme involves commissioning art historians and cultural critics to write about key works in the collection, the Spotlight series.

Documenting Live! represents a new venture for Diversity Art Forum by collaborating with artists and arts organisations to produce archival videos of live art performances.

This external arts programme allows Diversity Art Forum to take an active role in the debates around contemporary visual arts practice and documenting history in the making.

Venue Type:

Association or society

Opening hours

Term Time:

Mon: 09.00-18.00
Tue: 10.00-19.00
Wed: 09.00-18.00
Thu: 09.00-17.00
Fri: 09.00-13.00
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed


Mon-Fri: 09.00-17.00
Sat-Sun: Closed

Closed: Sat Sun

The Diversity Art Forum archive houses over 6,000 slides of exhibitions and slides of individual works of art. These slides chronicle the careers of over 200 contemporary artists. Slides are classified by artist names from A-Z, alongside corresponding artist folders containing CVs, statements and press cuttings.

In addition, the Diversity Art Forum has A-Z files on arts organisations throughout the UK, art historian, curators and cultural critics' files, videos, audio tapes and CD ROMS. The bookshelves contain nearly 4,000 publications.

Collection details

Social History, World Cultures

Diversity Art Forum - formerly AAVAA
Diversity Art Forum
Learning Resources Centre
University of East London
Docklands Campus
4-6 University Way
Greater London
E16 2RD




General UEL Archives Email



Pauline De Souza, Director.

020 8223 3132

UEL Archives Number.

020 8223 7676


020 8223 7497

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.