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Meet the experts working to preserve LOATAD’s archives

Since August 2021, we’ve been working with a team of UK-based archivists to develop a framework for preserving our archives. 

Led by Dr Etienne Joseph, co-founder of Decolonising The Archive, with Information Management Specialist, Lydia Julien and Archivist, Kaitlene Koranteng, the aim is to employ best practices to create a system that works within an African context for an African-centred archive. 

Consisting of tangible artefacts such as books, letters, and photographs, and digital artefacts such as audio, video, and other electronic files, the LOATAD archive has been growing since 2017 and is set to expand as we focus more on our knowledge production, preservation, and dissemination work.

Meet the experts taking on this mammoth task for the culture:

Dr. Etienne Joseph is a London-based Archivist, Researcher and Producer. One of a handful of Archivists of African heritage operating in the UK, his work strives to understand the purpose and function of heritage within African/Diasporic cultural contexts. Specifically, Etienne’s interventions engage with the idea of the ‘living archive’ and the active role of history in African/Diasporic (re)evolution. 

Lydia Julien is a visual and performance artist. Often working within sequences, she interlaces narratives based loosely upon personal or abstract experience, consciously intangible in nature. Using the self as subject, the work is often bound within analogue processes, primarily photographic works and artist books. She is a Library Services Assistant at Ravensbourne University.

Kaitlene Koranteng is an Archivist. She holds an MA in Archives and Records Management and is a Researcher with the Young Historians Project. She is Chair of the London Legacy Youth Board and was a trainee in the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive team.

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Meet the newest members of #teamLOATAD

Mae A. Miller-Likhethe is a US-based scholar, curator, and museum educator. Her projects explore questions of decolonisation, infrastructure, aesthetics, and technology. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and is curating an exhibition, A Thousand Secrets, at ApexArt (NYC). Mae has previously held roles as Curatorial Fellow at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (NYC), Youth Instructor at the Museum of the City of New York, and research consultant with the London Metropolitan Archives. At LOATAD, Mae is working on developing a framework and a practice for the growth of our oral archives.

Vincent Mauricio Kadiri is a German-Nigerian scholar who recently completed his PhD in Chemistry. He is a Mercator Fellow in International Affairs, a one-year German-Swiss programme that finances 25 young professionals as they complete a variety of work placements in international organisations, NGOs, and think tanks. While in Ghana, Vincent is working with LOATAD on a new exhibition to commemorate the life and legacy of one of Africa’s leading political thinkers and revolutionaries. Stay tuned…

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Welcome to the LOATAD Oral Archive

Madame Martha Mensah, age 100, from Ampenyi in the Central Region of Ghana, being interviewed by Fauziyatu Moro in Ampenyi, 2 May, 2021

In November 2020, LOATAD was honoured to receive a grant from the Goethe-Institut Ghana to deliver our Women Speaking Women (WSW) project, the sister project of Women Reading Women. 

Whereas the latter focusses on collecting oral recordings of published works by African women writers, Women Speaking Women is concerned with formalising African women’s 𝘶𝘯𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 stories by recording them and making them available in the library, and as part of the archive, placing them on a par with written literature and recognising traditional forms of African storytelling as worthy of preservation.

The Library Talks Grant will fund us to travel along the coastal regions of Ghana, speaking with, and listening to women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, particularly older women, and gathering and preserving their stories.

After months of research and preparation, last week, we began the fieldwork for Phase 1 of the project. 

Our team, made up of WSW Project Manager, Fauziyatu Moro and LOATAD Programmes Manager, Seth Avusuglo, began their journey in the Western Region, conducting interviews with nine women in the Nzema-speaking towns of Benyi, New Bakanta, Essiama, and Axim. 

Fauziyatu Moro, LOATAD Women’s Oral Archive Project Manager, at the Torgbui Sape Agbo Stool Shrine in the Volta Region of Ghana, June 2021.

From there, they moved to the Central Region, to the village of Ampenyi, where they spoke with seven women about their lives and work, including two generations in one conversation. The women spoke mainly in their native Fante, and also in Twi and English.

Phase 1 is now complete. The team gathered 16 stories in total and will begin the process of sorting and cataloguing – audio, video, and images. Phase 2 will begin later this month.

Look out for Fauziya and Seth’s Instagram Takeover in which they take us with them on their coastal journey and join us for an Instagram Live on the next phase of their research.

We are grateful to the Goethe-Institut Ghana for their support to realise this important archival project and thank them for this grant.


This article was originally posted on the LOATAD Instagram page in May 2021.

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