Meet... Barbara Morovich

2022 BM




Dr Barbara Morovich is the new director of IFRA-Nigeria since 1st September 2022. She is a trained archaeologist (Univ. of Trieste), a doctor in social and cultural anthropology (EHESS Paris 2003,) and associate professor in Anthropology at the "Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture" of the University of Strasbourg (France). She studies socio-spatial and cultural transformations in relation to "minority" heritage emergences in disadvantaged and stigmatised contexts.





 - Hi ! Could you please introduce yourself to the readers ?

I’m a social anthropologist (PhD) of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales (Paris) and have a previous diploma in archaeology from the University of Trieste (Italy), my city of birth. I have worked for 10 years in African countries, in Kenya and Chad, before becoming Associate Professor with Habilitation (HDR) at the University of Strasbourg. There I teach and conduct research in social sciences within the department of Architecture.


- Can you talk to us about one project that you've conducted in the past that you've particularly enjoyed ?

Since 2016, I’m conducting a pluridisciplinary research (anthropology and geography) about « uncertain heritage » at the Drill Hall in Johannesburg in South Africa. It’s a heritage space within the inner city in link with the anti-apartheid struggle. Since its renovation in 2004, the Drill Hall didn’t find a proper destination and is progressively abandoned by the institutions. During this suspended time, it is occupied by associations of artists, projects of urban gardening or social utility, migrants, some churches etc.This fieldwork allowed me to understand how minoritarian groups struggle for space, economy and self-accomplishment and how they build narratives taking into account the very rich history of this space. Also, these groups are keeping the Drill Hall in a quite acceptable state, even if they are not recognized by the governement and the State.


- What exactly will you be doing at IFRA ?

As the director, I will coordinate and lead the different projects of the institute. I also hope to be able to find new partners universities, in West Africa and Europe. I intend as well to continue to operate within the Institute of African Studies, with common workshops, seminars and other pedagogical initiatives.


- What are your most excited about coming to Nigeria ?

It’s to have the possibility to look at this moment of the history (post-pandemic, ecological crisis, emergence of a feminist movement…) from this particular point of view - how will Nigeria, the most populated country in Africa and a growing global society, deal with these major issues ? 


- Last and important question: what is your pepe threshold ?

I have a great appetite for anything new: I just have to try not to get indigestion and take my time to fully understand the habits, culture and places. Laiyara, I would say in Yoruba ! 

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