Growing up in south-eastern Nigeria, a recurring phrase among elderly Igbo people in the region is, “before the War…”, followed by narratives of how things used to be and how things could have been. This piqued my interest in cultural heritage and how they are impacted by tragedies and conflicts. During my B.A. at the University of Nigeria, I studied how prolonged interregnal periods in certain Igbo communities, occasioned by succession difficulties after the death of a king, could impact cultural continuity. Now, I will be exploring the destructive and generative impacts of Nigeria’s 30-month Civil war, remembered as the “Biafran War”, on the cultural identity and patrimony of the Igbo people. At Cambridge, my PhD research will focus more explicitly on the complex interaction of conflict and intangible heritage and the dissonances in memorialisation, canonisation, representation and silencing. I hope to further our understanding of the uses of heritage during conflicts and to help post-conflict communities to develop comprehensive approaches to their heritage in order to inform policies for dealing with the legacies of difficult pasts. I am thrilled to belong to the Gates community and I look forward to an impactful partnership.
University of Nigeria Cultural Resources Management 2020
University of Nigeria Archaeology and Tourism 2016