Arts, archaeology and cultural heritage of the African continent Arts, archaeology and cultural heritage of the African continent

African art is strongly represented in the collections of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA). This focus is continued in teaching and research in Art History and World Art Studies and in the work of the Sainsbury Research Unit (SRU).

Research related to the visual and material culture of Africa within SIfA is coordinated by the Centre for African Art and Archaeology.


Members of UEA academic staff who are affiliates of the Centre include:

Dr Jo Clarke  - Senior Lecturer

Dr Ferdinand de Jong - Senior Lecturer

Dr Simon Dell  - Senior Lecturer

Dr Anne Haour - Reader in the Arts and Archaeology of Africa, Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

Professor Sandy Heslop  - Professor of Visual Arts

Professor John Mack FBA  - Professor of World Art Studies, Chairman of the Sainsbury Institute for Art

Dr Christina Riggs - Senior Lecturer in Art History

Dr Fiona Savage - Post-doctoral researcher on 19th century Ghana


Western Sahara Project

The Western Sahara Project is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to improve our understanding of past environmental, social and cultural change in northwest Africa.

The main focus of the research is on human-environment interaction over the past 10,000 years (the Holocene period), with an emphasis on the transition from humid to arid conditions in the Middle to Late Holocene.

The Project is led by the University of East Anglia, and involves specialists in a wide range of subjects from a number of institutions. The project's fieldwork is conducted in the eastern and southern areas of the disputed, non self-governing territory of Western Sahara, formerly known as Spanish Sahara.

The Pan-African Heritage of Senegal

This research project pertains to the pan-African heritage of Senegal. As one of the Utopian ideologies of the twentieth century, Pan-Africanism still requires a full analysis in terms of its impact on the current outlook of postcolonial citizens. How do contemporary citizens engage with the Pan-African legacy at this moment in history in which the postcolony is said to be in serious crisis?

This project focuses on an often-neglected aspect in postcolonial studies: the materiality (rather than textuality) through which the postcolony is imagined. In the current climate of anxiety about immigration, this project engages the public in thinking about the consequences of the failure of the postcolony to provide an economic context in which youth can realise their aspirations.

The research project will enable Dr Ferdinand de Jong to complete publication of a monograph titled The Pan-African Heritage of Senegal. Collaboration with the acclaimed photographers Judith Quax and Mamadou Gomis will result in a web-exhibition and a touring exhibition on Senegal's Pan-African heritage.

Crossroads of Empires: Archaeology, material culture and sociopolitical relationships in West Africa

Crossroads of Empireswhich began on January 2011 and will run for five years, focuses on the archaeology of the Niger River Valley at the border between Bénin and Niger (West Africa) in the period AD 1200-1850.

The project's aim is to study how medieval ‘empires' influenced the patterning of settlement and material culture across the landscape.