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

Latest news 

Robert Sainsbury Lecture 2023: Dr Nick Merriman

We are pleased to announce that this year's Robert Sainsbury Lecture 'A Sustainable Future for Museums' will be given by Dr Nick Merriman, Chief Executive, Horniman Museum. It will take place on Friday 5 May 2023 at 5pm in Lecture Theatre 0.01 of the Julian Study Centre, University of East...

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme

The Sainsbury Research Unit together with the British Museum are seeking applications for two fully funded collaborative doctoral studentships from October 2023 under the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Programme (CDP). Check the webpage for ...

Major transdisciplinary climate change and heritage conference - 30 March 2023

A British Academy one-day conference 'Measuring Heritage Loss and Damage from Climate Change for Effective Policy Reporting' is being held at the University of East Anglia, bringing together scholars and policy experts across a range of disciplines. The conference will discuss a range of...

SRU graduate conference - 25 and 26 May 2023

A SRU student-led conference 'Missionary Collecting in Africa: a Comparative Analysis of Catholic and Protestant Missions' will be held at the University of East Anglia, 25-26 May 2023. This will in-person event will also have an online livestream.

UEA Achievement Award Winner

Dr Karen Jacobs, Associate Professor at the Sainsbury Research Unit, is one of the winners of UEA's 2022 Engagement Awards in recognition of her work as Principal Investigator on the ' Urban Pathways: Fiji, Youth, Arts, Culture ' project.  This project is supported by the British...

New Website for the SRU

The Sainsbury Research Unit will be moving to a new website later in 2022 or in 2023.  In the meantime, the former URL will lead to pages where up to date information on the Unit's academic programmes and activities will be published. More details of the new website...