The Sainsbury Research Unit (SRU), based in the Sainsbury Centre at UEA, is a centre for the study of the arts and material culture of Africa, the Pacific region and the Americas.

It has six permanent academic faculty supported by library and administrative staff. Visiting fellows, research associates and postdoctoral researchers working on special projects also contribute to the academic life of the SRU.

It has its own teaching and study facilities and a specialist research library known as the Robert Sainsbury Library, all on hand in the Sainsbury Centre.

Our courses

The SRU offers MA and PhD degrees, with generous scholarships and funding support for students. MRes and MPhil options are available.

It also offers visiting fellowships for postdoctoral scholars and hosts regular conferences, symposia and other academic meetings.

The MA and PhD programmes are intended for those interested in careers in higher education, museums and galleries, publishing, journalism and development.

Our research and teaching

Combining anthropological, art-historical, archaeological and museological approaches, SRU research and teaching are focused on the distinctive cultures of the three regions.

It has a particular focus on how artworks and objects are made, used and circulated – in effect, how they matter to people, both in their original contexts and in the contexts of museums and exhibitions.

As part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UEA the SRU contributes to a substantial and lively scholarly community in the Sainsbury Centre.

Our people

Events and News

Brent Kerehona visit to SRU 17 January 2024

Brent Kerehona, who is undertaking research on his distinguished Maori ancestor Hongi Hika, gave a presentation on 17 January 2024 at the SRU about his current research. This included showing his documentary film about Hongi’s visit to England in 1820, during which he stayed at Queen’s College,...

CfAAA Talk, 23 January 24; 5 - 6.30pm : Modelling Climate, Environment, and Peopling in the Holocene Saharan Massifs

We are excited to put out an invitation to everyone for our upcoming seminar on January 23, 2024, which Dr. Emmanuelle Honoré (Université Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne) will be presenting. The talk is titled Modelling Climate, Environment, and Peopling in the Holocene Saharan Massifs and you...

Dr Sanja Savkic Sebek; New Visiting Fellow

Started in January 2024 and will be with us for the next three months. She will be based in the Project Office on the mezzanine.

Fieldwork Sketches: Blurring the Lines between Art and Anthropology - Friday 16 February 2024, 10:00 - 5:00pm

Fieldwork sketches, drawings, diagrams, and illustrations have been used by anthropologists since the beginning of the discipline This is a hybrid event.  For more information and to register :- Register for  online attendance via Zoom Register for  attending in...

TAG 2023, UEA Norwich 18-20 December 2023 Conference

University of East Anglia (Norwich) is hosting Theoretical Archaeology Group's annual conference (TAG 2023). Its theme is Climate archaeology: temporalities and ontologies . Sessions and presentations will explore the relationship between human beings and climate, from the materiality of...

Showing of Etched in Bone, Wednesday 6 December, 11.15 - 12.45 pm

Clementine Debrosse (SRU PGR student) has kindly offered to host a showing of a film by her aunt in the Sainsbury Centre Lecture Theatre at 11.15-12.45 on Wednesday 6 December. The existing MA Core Course session by Chris Wingfield, “Introducing Objecthood” will now move to the earlier time...

Sacred Sovereigns: Art, Divinity & Rulership in the Ancient Americas symposium

Please note that this event took place 13-14 October 2023.  We would like to thank the contributors/speakers in the symposium and also acknowledge the funding support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  We are now in the process of publishing the proceedings of the symposium,...

SRU academic elected to Council of the British Academy

Professor Anne Haour, SRU, has been elected a member of Council and Trustee of the British Academy. Council is the overarching governing body of the British Academy, and it is made up of the President, the Vice-Presidents, and 15 Ordinary Members. Professor Haour becomes one of five Fellows to...

New York Met curator Dr Maia Nuku wins supreme award for world class Kiwis

Congratulations to SRU graduate Dr Maia Nuku, Evelyn A. J. Hall and John A. Friede Associate Curator for Oceanic Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, for winning the supreme award at the Kea World Class New Zealand Awards .  

Recent PhD graduate, Bolaji Owoseni, awarded a one-year Research Fellowship at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in Cambridge

Bolaji Owoseni, who recently completed her PhD in Archaeology at the Sainsbury Research Unit, has been appointed to a one-year Post-doctoral Fellowship at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, which started in October 2023. Dr Owoseni is an archaeologist from...