The British colonial ‘migrated’ archives: a mentorship scheme for Nigeria-based early career researchers

Tim Livsey Discussion

British authorities covertly removed thousands of documents from colonised territories at around the time they won their independence, from the 1940s through to the 1980s. These papers include 413 files taken from Nigeria, that mostly cover late colonial politics. The files include documents relating to constitutional negotiations, the ‘Nigerianisation’ of the civil service, the minorities commission, the ‘African Continental Bank Affair’, the Cameroons plebiscites, economic development, technical assistance, and other issues.

The so-called ‘migrated’ archives were held by the British government for decades before being made available to researchers at the UK National Archives from 2012 to 2013. British authorities have still not returned the documents to their countries of origin. As a result, it is challenging for many Nigeria-based researchers to use the ‘migrated’ archives in their work.

This scheme is intended to facilitate six Nigeria-based early career researchers’ work using the British colonial ‘migrated’ archives.

The scheme will:

  • Make available, on a one-to-one basis, digital images of ‘migrated’ documents relevant to the Nigeria-based early career researchers’ ongoing research interests.
  • Pair each early career researcher with an established scholar, who will offer monthly research mentorship meetings from July 2023 to June 2024.
  • Cover the costs of successful applicants’ attendance at the 2024 Lagos Studies Association conference (including conference registration, travel, and accommodation) to present their ongoing research using the ‘migrated’ archives.

The scheme is open to postgraduate students in History, the humanities, and social science disciplines, and to those who have been awarded postgraduate degrees in these subjects over the last five years.

Places on the mentorship scheme are limited. To apply for a place, please write to by Friday 30 June 2023 including:

  1. A statement of up to 500 words specifying which of the ‘migrated’ files you would like to use, and explaining why they are relevant to your ongoing research. (Details of the ‘migrated’ files taken from Nigeria are available on the UK National Archives online catalogue here, and a list is also available by contacting
  2. An academic reference from a scholar who is familiar with your work. If you are a registered postgraduate student, this statement should be written by your advisor, and state their support for your participation in the scheme.
  3. A short CV of up to two pages.

The research mentors are: Prof Saheed Aderinto (Florida International University), Dr Mandy Banton (Institute of Commonwealth Studies), Prof Abosede George (Barnard College), Dr Vincent Hiribarren (King’s College London), Dr Tim Livsey (Northumbria University), and Dr Jimoh Mufutau Oluwasegun (Federal University Birnin Kebbi).

The scheme is organised by Dr Tim Livsey in collaboration with the Lagos Studies Association and IFRA-Nigeria, and with the support of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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I wonder if any of these records have been redacted and are in their entirety?