Introducing IFRA's 'Nigerian Heritage Digitisation Programme'
In 2022, the Embassy of France in Nigeria and IFRA-Nigeria have been awarded funding to support efforts by Nigerian researchers and professionals, from partnered institutions, to develop their ideas and projects on the conservation of Nigerian Heritage and Patrimony.
The objective of this project is to put digital technologies, as well as French and Nigerian expertise, at the service of the protection, enhancement, and dissemination of Nigerian heritage to the global community. In practice, it is a response to the growing challenges in the world of research and Nigerian cultural and heritage studies with the objective to improve the Protection, Conservation, Dissemination, and Training to develop sustainable capacity.
The Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI) is a programme run by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs designed to help French institutions abroad carry out innovative action activities in the country where they work, in close collaboration with their partners, that have a rapid impact and are highly visible to the benefit local populations.
In this FSPI project, IFRA-Nigeria will be working with Nigerian partners to 1) preserve Nigerian cultural heritage, 2) make it more accessible to a wider audience with the help of digital tools, 3) provide training opportunities for a new generation of Nigerian researchers, with a specific focus on promising Nigerian women and youth. The project is made up of five different component projects but with dynamic connectivity in the core objectives of the broader FSPI project.
Objectives of the FSPI project
- Structuring Franco-Nigerian relations in the sectors of protection, promotion, and dissemination of Nigerian heritage ;
- Building a fair partnership and collaboration models aimed at co-constructing projects and jointly mobilising French and Nigerian expertise to develop skills ;
- Demonstrating the relevance of such an approach through the implementation of high-impact projects that are easily replicable and provide deliverable added value in the medium term.
Five components of the FSPI project
1. Protecting political activists’ archives to write another history of Nigeria
- Partners: Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Abuja and the Socialist Library and Archives (SOLAR), Calabar
- Create an inventory and digitise pre-selected archives of Bene and Edwin Madunagu in Calabar as well as other activists’ archives.
- Dr. Sa’eed Husaini (CDD) will lead the project and conduct research on the digitised archives
- Academics and activists will be sponsored to publish research on the digitised archives (as well as the papers of Ola and Kehinde Oni previously digitised by IFRA-Nigeria). Workshops will be organised to disseminate knowledge about the digitised archives
2. Digitising and promoting the documentary collections of the National Museum of Lagos
- Partners: National Commission for Museums and Monuments (Lagos National Museum) and African Artists’ Foundation, Lagos
- Digitizing and promoting the documentary collections of the National Museum of Lagos, especially the maps and papers of Kenneth Murray
- Training of staff and other heritage specialists
- A researcher will be hired to work on the digitised collections
- Partnership with the African Artists’ Foundation to have artists working on and interrogating the digitised collections
- Final exhibition and event with the artists and researchers
3. Creating a digital archive of the intangible heritage of Benin (Nigeria)
- Partner: Institute for Benin Studies, Benin City
- Creating a digital archive of the intangible heritage of Benin (Nigeria)
- A group of young researchers specializing in Benin Studies will be trained in sound and video recording and the challenges of digitizing intangible heritage during a five-day masterclass at the start of the project
- Elements of Edo’s intangible heritage (songs, ceremonies, rituals) will be collected, annotated, translated, and archived on a dedicated website
- A high-level event will be organized in Benin City and broadcast online to present the digital archive
4. Promoting the religious architectural heritage of Ibadan
- Partners: Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan and others
- Organisation of a workshop on the religious architectural heritage of Ibadan by IFRA-Nigeria
- Digitisation of selected religious buildings
- Training of Nigerian researchers in techniques for digitising religious architectural heritage
- Creation of an interactive digital map of notable places of worship in Ibadan
5. Protecting the urban archaeological heritage of Ile-Ife
- Partner: Epot Integrated Concept and Museum of Natural History, Ile Ife.
- Mapping historical pavements of Ile-Ife.
- Training in the preservation of archaeological heritage
- Raising public awareness of the protection of urban archaeological heritage
- Creating interest through open access of the digitised heritage of Ife
- Partnership for the creation of a center of interpretation on one of the sites