Legacies of Biafra Heritage Project to launch in south-eastern Nigeria

  • October 9, 2023
Legacies of Biafra Heritage Project to launch in south-eastern Nigeria

Stanley Onyemechalu is to run a public event in Nigeria bringing young people and older people together to talk about the legacy of the Biafra War.

A Gates Cambridge Scholar is to organise a two-day intergenerational public engagement event in Nigeria on the Biafra war and its legacies.

Stanley Onyemechalu [2021] has been awarded the Public Engagement Starter Fund (PESF) by the University of Cambridge for his ‘Legacies of Biafra Heritage Project’. The PESF supports University of Cambridge researchers to “undertake innovative public engagement with research activities… based on contemporary research at the University”

The Legacies of Biafra Heritage Project (LBHP), an offshoot from Stanley’s PhD in Archaeology, will organise a two-day public engagement activity in Enugu, south-eastern Nigeria. In collaboration with the Centre for Memories – a youth-led cultural centre – the project will engage young people in an artistic representation of their knowledge of the Biafra war and its legacies and showcase that art in a free public exhibition. 

The public exhibition segment will feature an interactive session between war veterans, survivors (and their descendants) with the young people and their works. Through its activities, LBHP aims to foster intergenerational dialogue and empower participants to exchange and express their knowledge/memories of the Biafra war and its legacies – a sensitive part of their collective history that Stanley says has been suppressed by successive Nigerian governments.

Stanley has also been awarded the Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant to support his PhD fieldwork research in southeastern Nigeria. The Grant funds “vibrant and significant” doctoral research that “advances anthropological knowledge” and “furthers our understanding of what it means to be human”. Stanley’s PhD explores the complex intersection of cultural heritage and the legacies of 20th-century violent conflicts in the context of the Nigeria-Biafra war (1967-1970) and the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria.

Stanley comments: “I thank the University of Cambridge and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research for the awards, which will significantly support my research and public engagement activities in south-eastern Nigeria.”

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