[Re:]Entanglements is the website of a project entitled ‘Museum Affordances’ funded by the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council, which is re-engaging with a remarkable ethnographic archive – including objects, photographs, sound recordings, botanical specimens, published work and fieldnotes – assembled by the colonial anthropologist, N. W. Thomas, in Southern Nigeria and Sierra Leone between 1909 and 1915. As well as better understanding the historical context in which these materials were gathered, the project seeks to re-think their significance in the present. What do they mean for different communities today? What actions do they make possible? How might we creatively explore their latent possibilities?

The project is being led by Paul Basu at SOAS University of London and involves a growing number of partnerships in the UK, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and beyond. These include the many institutions across which this ethnographic archive has been dispersed, including the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the British Library Sound Archive, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the UK National Archives.

As the project develops, we’ll be adding lots of material to the website relating to the culture and heritage of Nigeria and Sierra Leone. If you are interested in finding out more or would like to get involved please contact us!

Project Team

Research Associates

Kent Onah
Auchi Polytechnic

Kent Onah is senior lecturer and until recently Head of Painting in the School of Art and Industrial Design at Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, Nigeria. A master painter member of the Society of Nigerian Artists, he draws upon traditional motifs, material culture and cultural performance in his work.

Enotie Ogbebor
Nosona Studios

Enotie Ogbebor is a prolific artist and singer-songwriter, and an authority on Benin Court Art. He established Nosona Studios in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, which has become a creative hub for training young artists and a space for visiting artists to Benin.

John Kelechi Ugwuanyi
University of Nigeria, Nsukka

John Kelechi Ugwuanyi teaches in the Department of Archaeology and Tourism at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and is currently completing a PhD at the University of York in which he is investigating the traditional village square in Igbo culture and cosmology. His broad research interests include museum and heritage studies, as well as indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies.

Jean Borgatti
University of Benin

Jean Borgatti obtained her PhD in Art History at UCLA in 1976 and has been engaged in field research on the arts of the North Edo area for almost her entire career. She first started working with the Northcote Thomas's photograph and object collections in 1969. She has a long-standing relationship with the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

Oladapo Afolayan
Auchi Polytechnic

Oladapo Afolayan hails from Osi-Ilorin of the famous Bamidele Areoogun Yoruba North wood carving tradition. Inspired by Esie stone images he trained as a sculptor at Zaria. He has taught at Auchi Polytechnic since 1988, serving as Dean of the School of Art and Industrial Design between 2014-16. He is president of the Sculptors' Association of Nigeria.

Ikenna Emmanuel Onwuegbuna
University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Ikenna Emmanuel Onwuegbuna is senior lecturer and head of the Department of Music, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is editor of the International Journal of Arts and Humanities. He is particularly interested in working with the historical sound recordings of N. W. Thomas from an ethnomusicological perspective.