Workshop - The British colonial ‘migrated’ archives

DSC 0334On the 16th of June 2023, Tim Livsey (Northumbria University) organised a workshop for early career researchers in partnership with IFRA-Nigeria with the support of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. The workshop took place at the Institute for African Studies of the University of Ibadan. Tim Livsey offered an introduction to the history of the ‘migrated’ colonial archives, focusing particularly on the files removed from Nigeria. Prof. Abiola Abioye, an archives studies expert at the University of Ibadan, gave a keynote address positioning the ‘migrated’ archives in relation to the history of archives in Nigeria. His talk also explored possible ways forward in dealing with ‘migrated’ archives issues.

The British authorities covertly removed thousands of documents from colonized territories at around the time they won their independence, from the 1940s through to the 1980s. These documents include 413 files taken from Nigeria. These so-called ‘migrated’ archives were held by the British government for decades before being made available to researchers at the National Archives in London from 2012 to 2013. British authorities have still not returned the documents to their countries of origin. As a result, it is challenging for many Nigeria-based researchers to use the ‘migrated’ archives in their work.

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This workshop also constituted an opportunity for early career researchers to work with copies of ‘migrated’ archives documents, including documents from Nigeria and to Introduce a mentorship scheme open to up to six Nigeria-based early career researchers. This scheme will make available digital images of ‘migrated’ documents relevant to their research together with mentorship from an established researcher. The scheme will also cover the costs of successful applicants’ attendance at the 2024 Lagos Studies Association conference to present their research using the ‘migrated’ archives.

Tags: Nigeria, History

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