Deputy Archivist of Sierra Leone

1st December 2011

The Deputy Archivist of Sierra Leone (Mr Alfred Fornah) will be visiting Hull between Thursday, 1st and Wednesday, 7th December as part of a visit sponsored by the British Library Endangered Archives Programme.  During his visit he will be spending time exploring different “archives” including those at WISE, Wilberforce House Museum, the East Riding Treasure House and Hull History Centre. The visit is designed to help archivists charged with preserving the paper archives of developing countries protect their important collections.

During his visit to the region he will learn from qualified archivists and museum curators about UK heritage standards, thereby ensuring the sharing of best practice between both countries. The university's Senior Archivist, Simon Wilson (based at the Hull History Centre), will also be showing Mr Kornah some of the pioneering research into born-digital collections he is developing in partnership with the Universities of Virginia, Yale and Stanford as part of a three-day placement at Hull's new History Centre.

The visit is hosted by the University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) and being organised by Visiting Leverhulme Professorial Fellow Suzanne Schwarz (of the University of Worcester) and Dr Nicholas Evans, Lecturer in Diaspora History at WISE.  Dr Evans said:

"Preserving the archival heritage of Sierra Leone, a former-colony established by the British for freed slaves, is incredibly important to us at WISE. We are very grateful to the British Library Endangered Archives Programme for the opportunity to share with one of Sierra Leone's principle archivists some of the cutting-edge work in heritage here at Hull. WISE has a particular interest in Sierra Leone and we hope through the visit to advance our research activities exploring the ethnic origins of both enslaved and liberated African diasporas."

Alongside one-to-one meetings with archivists and curators Mr Fornah will be attending presentations by WISE postgraduate students, visiting lectures, and observing pioneering A/S Level Slavery classes being organised by WISE and St Mary's College, Hull.  He will also brief staff and undergraduate students taking part in the Hull History Partnership (a collaboration between Hull's History Department and the Hull History Centre) on some of the challenges faced by Public Historians in preserving heritage.