Naija Archives: conservation and dissemination of Nigerian archival heritage
Our overall aim is to improve the accessibility of Nigerian archives based on archivists' and users' experience. While we have worked with the National Archives of Nigeria, we hope that our focus on private archive centres will make it possible to shed light on social, cultural and gender dynamics, etc.
The three branches of the Nigerian National Archives house the precolonial, colonial and postcolonial records of Nigeria. While these archives have been widely used by scholars, their exact content would deserve to be explored in a more systematic manner. There is also a large number of Nigerian private libraries and archives which are open to the public and managed by intellectuals, academics or activists. Their use, however, remains limited because they are little known beyond their immediate environment. Our objective is to promote knowledge of these centres by digitising their catalogues and displaying the contact details of their owners/curators. While we are aware that public as well private archives represent the point of view of their creators, we will make sure to offer a critical introduction of our websites.
If digital technology has already started a movement to transform human and social sciences, access to sources and production of data can be notoriously difficult in an African context. We believe digital humanities can renew the partnership between Western and African researchers as well as connect academics, students and the general audience. IFRA-Nigeria will be part of these debates, in particular through the organization in 2021 of a conference on the future of digital humanities and the decolonization of knowledge, in partnership with the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ibadan.
A collaborative project
To compensate for the lack of information on Nigerian archive centres, especially on the internet, IFRA-Nigeria created in 2018 a network of researchers in order to list and describe the archive repositories in Nigeria. Our aim is to crowdsource the content of this list in order to obtain a more accurate picture of archival repositories in Nigeria.
Our project is coordinated by Dr Vincent Hiribarren, Dr Cyrielle Maingraud-Martinaud and Dr Sara Panata (IFRA-Nigeria / IMAf). The digitization component is handled by our inhouse archivist, Patrick Olushola Babalola and the site creation by Dr Vincent Hiribarren.
Outcome of the project
We will build an interactive map of the main public (national, state, university, etc.) and private archives of Nigeria.
We have also planned to build a series of small websites for each of our distinct projects.
Professor Felicia Adetowun Ogunsheye, activist for women's rights and the first woman professor in Nigeria.
Professor Jacob Festus Adeniyi Ajayi, academic and historian of West Africa.
Comrade Ola Oni, prominent marxist activist from Ibadan (1933-1999). This project is ongoing. First, we will work on the classification and preservation of the documents, and then start a digitization project. These private archives document the left political movements as well as the history of Trade Unions and Women Union from the 1960s to 1990s in South-West Nigeria.