CONF SAVE THE DATE: Africa and the Environment: Archives and Data in the Climate Emergency, 23 June 2023

Marion Wallace Discussion

Please SAVE THE DATE! 23 June 2023

‘Africa and the Environment: Archives and Data in the Climate Emergency’, a one-day conference at SOAS, London, and online, 23 June 2023

The annual conference of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa) focuses this year on that most pressing of issues, the environment and the climate crisis. The conference offers a very rich programme of speakers, with a keynote from Professor William Beinart on the visual history of African wildlife. Other papers cover subjects as varied as mining archives, historical climatology, archival preservation in a changing environment, and using collections to understand colonial legacies of African environmental histories. The programme is below.

Conference participants are also invited to attend a workshop on the history of pesticide use in collections on 22 June at the UK National Archives.

Please save the date. Details of how to register will be posted on H-Africa in due course.


SCOLMA: the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa

Africa and the Environment

Archives and Data in the Climate Emergency

23 June 2023

A one-day conference at SOAS, London, and online

Please save the date! Registration details to follow.


9.50–10.00      Welcome

10.00–10.40    Keynote

‘Sources on the Visual History of African Wildlife, 1945-1980: Images that Changed the Animal World’

William Beinart, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford


10.40–11.00   Break

11.00–12.30   Panel 1: Environmental Histories, Archives and Mining

‘Exploring the Historical Climatology of Southern Africa using Documentary Evidence from UK Archives’

David J. Nash, University of Brighton, George C.D. Adamson, Georgina H. Endfield, Stefan W. Grab, Matthew J. Hannaford, Clare Kelso and Jørgen Klein


‘Documenting Lived Experiences of Resource Extraction and Environmental Transformation on the Copperbelt’

Iva Peša, University of Groningen


‘A Preservation History of Mining Archives: The Case of the Selection Trust and Anglo-American Corporation Environmental Archives in Zambia’s Copperbelt’

Miyanda Simabwachi, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein


12.30–13.15    Lunch break

13.15–14.00    SCOLMA AGM

14.00–15.30    Panel 2: Material Heritage, Data and the Environment

‘The Climate Emergency and Coastal Heritage Sites: Archival Data and Environmental Modelling for Heritage Preservation in Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania’

Mapping Africa’s Endangered Archaeological Sites and Monuments (MAEASaM), University of Cambridge


‘The Activating the Archive Project – Using Museum Collections to Understand Colonial Legacies of African Environmental Histories’

Ashley Coutu, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford and Tabitha Kabora, Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity, University of York


‘Documenting Environmental Knowledge through/with/in Material Practices’

Ceri Ashley, British Museum/Nottingham Trent University


15.30–16.00   Break

16.00–17.25   Panel 3: Archival Resources and Environmental Change

‘The Archival Trail and the History of International Cooperation in Environmental Control: The Case of Locusts in Southern Africa’

Admire Mseba, University of Southern California


 ‘The Effects of Harmattan Haze on the British Colonial and Administrative records at the Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD) Tamale (Ghana)’

Ismael M. Montana, Northern Illinois University


‘Complementary and Competing but Neglected: Understanding the State of Private Environmental Archives in Zimbabwe using the Boulton Atlantica Foundation’

Livingstone Muchefa, Curator for Education and Public Programming, National Gallery Of Zimbabwe


17.25–17.30   Conference close


This programme is subject to change.

Please note that some speakers will be giving their papers in person, and others online.


Please save the date! Registration details to follow.

(Other enquiries can be sent to Sarah Rhodes, SCOLMA Secretary,


Notice of event at the UK National Archives on 22 June

Knowledge exchange workshop on the historic use of insecticides in collections

Attendees at the SCOLMA conference 2023 are also cordially invited to a hybrid workshop hosted at the National Archives, UK on the 22nd of June. The knowledge exchange workshop will be exploring how several archives, libraries and museums are investigating and managing the presence of historic pesticide treatments of their paper-based collections. This follows recent research into TNA collections, the results of which are available in an open access paper published by Heritage Science here.

 Collection specialists at King’s College London, the National History Museum London, and Durham University, as well the Collections Care Department at the National Archives, UK, have confirmed participation.

 The workshop will be running as a hybrid event with options to attend onsite at Kew, and online. Please save the date and look out for more details about timing and registration in the coming weeks.