This one-day international conference will provide a platform to discuss Igbo heritage studies and modes of documenting the past. The ‘Memory, Culture and Community’ conference is the seventh edition of the annual international Igbo Conference, which has taken place at SOAS, University of London since its beginnings in 2012.
The last conference was held April 21-22, 2017 with the guiding theme ‘Legacies of Biafra: Reflections on the Nigeria-Biafra war 50 years on’, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war. The ‘Legacies of Biafra’ conference launched our “Know Your History” initiative which seeks to create physical and digital spaces for learning and knowledge exchange centring on Igbo history, whilst also serving the development and population of our digital Igbo studies archive.
The ‘Memory, Culture and Community’ conference seeks to promote the creation, management and use of records and archives, highlighting the need to preserve the archival heritage of people of Igbo descent around the world, through the sharing of experiences, research and ideas. During the course of the day, the conference will put on a series of workshops which will provide members of the public the skills to compile and collate content on Igbo culture and heritage through the medium of film, photography and writing.
The central output of the conference will be the development of a digital archive through harnessing the knowledge and cultural resources of the community.
The 7th Igbo conference is a natural progression in the “Know Your History” series as it focuses on the need to preserve records and oral histories in order to expand our understanding of the history, culture and customs of the Igbo. The conference will also stage the official launch and unveiling of the Online Igbo Studies Encyclopaedia and archive, which is a freely accessible web based heritage project of the Igbo Studies Initiative.
The conference will be attended by archivists, digital, historians, subject experts, local stakeholders from across Nigeria and West Africa, international experts, academics and the general public. The conference will facilitate discussions around the history of Igbo people across the centuries, and the importance of creating a repository and space to document and preserve the history, heritage and culture of Igbo people both in Igboland and in the diaspora.
The one-day conference will encourage reflection and discussion based on the following key themes:
• History, archives and their importance
• Critical engagement with existing modes of record keeping and archiving
• Provide an avenue for the conference to acquire practical skills through hands on workshops (such as photography, filming and writing)
• Provide a forum to present and discuss content held in personal archives, such as photographs, cultural objects, letters, traditional clothing etc
1. Discussing and displaying Igbo photographs from the colonial era
2. Igbo people in the Americas: slavery and post-slavery
3. The contemporary Igbo diaspora
4. Nigeria- Biafra civil war: oral history, artefacts and documentation
5. Igbo communities in West Africa: Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone
6. People of Igbo descent: key historical figures
7. Traditional and contemporary cultural practices in Igboland
8. Archives and nationhood
9. Preserving the Igbo arts: the case of literature, film, theatre and fine arts.
10. Digital archiving and setting up online repositories
11. Profiles of successful digital archives
The event will
• Be interactive: provide hands on workshops to enable participants to gain knowledge and practical skills that will assist them in creating personal memory systems. These skills include photography, audio and podcast creation, document preservation, research, interview techniques which will be underscored by a discussion of copyright.
• Launch the Igbo studies archive: showcase its many features, encourage our participants to use the skills they have developed to contribute to the archive and demonstrate how anyone interested in Igbo studies will benefit from the information created for the repository.
• Screen a New Film : Screening of a new feature length documentary about Iri Ji Festival (New Yam Festival) including a Q & A with the filmmaker and a discussion on the way they have approached the documenting of the most famous annual event in Igboland.