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About this site

The Africa Desk is a collaboration between the British Academy and the African Studies Association of the UK, with support from The Association of Commonwealth Universities and SCOLMA, the UK Africanists librarians group. At its heart are directories of African and UK scholars - it encompasses the latest edition of the ASAUK Directory of Africanists in Britain - in addition to information on African studies centres in the UK and specialist Africanist libraries in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Contact details for the Africa Desk can be found here.

Many African scholars visit the UK each year on scholarships or research fellowships, while the UK has an active and long-established community of researchers specialising in Africa. Information on these links and relationships is often hard to find and collaborative work hard to track. The Africa Desk will therefore serve as both a directory of expertise, and a map of the Africa-UK research landscape, principally in the social sciences and humanities. It will provide a central source of information on Africanist research carried out in the UK, publicising the activities of the UK Africanist community and strengthening its profile. It will also act as a portal to support collaboration between UK and African researchers, enabling them to locate and make contact with colleagues sharing similar research interests and to identify potential future collaborators.


The British Academy

The British Academy is the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value. In conjunction with the ACU, the Academy published in 2009 the Nairobi Report, which aimed to address the challenges facing Africa-UK research collaborations in the social sciences and humanities. This developed into what later became called the Nairobi Process. In late 2011 the British Academy and the ACU produced a second report titled Foundations for the Future, which addressed the challenges faced by early career researchers in African Universities. The British Academy has a longstanding involvement in Africa through its support of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, which has been active since 1960. Additionally, the Academy has two international research awards schemes that cover Africa: the Newton International Fellowships and the International Partnership and Mobility Scheme.

African Studies Association of the UK

The African Studies Association of the United Kingdom was founded in 1963 and is the national subject association for Africanists within the academic community. Its mission is to advance African Studies and to facilitate the interchange of information, research and ideas in this field and the coordination of activities by and between persons and institutions concerned with the study of Africa. ASAUK is a non-profit organisation which has over 900 members drawn from Africanist scholars, students and other experts. Through conferences, workshops, a newsletter and a number of prizes and awards, the African Studies Association supports and provides information to the Africanist community. ASAUK works in close cooperation with the Royal African Society (RAS), and members receive the influential quarterly journal African Affairs. In 2006 ASAUK was recognised as a Learned Society by the British Academy.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) was founded in 1913. It is the world's oldest international inter-university network and approximately 540 universities across the Commonwealth - and around 100 in Africa - are members of the ACU. It works to support African education and research capacity through programmes focusing on early career research, research management, research uptake, and information access amongst other areas. The Association also provides the secretariat for the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

SCOLMA: the UK libraries and archives group on Africa

SCOLMA provides a forum for librarians and others concerned with the provision of materials for African studies in libraries in the United Kingdom. It seeks to monitor, co-ordinate and improve the acquisition of UK library materials on Africa. Since 1973 it has published the journal African Research and Documentation, and since 1963 several editions of the SCOLMA Directory of libraries and special collections on Africa. This now spans the whole of Europe and the latest edition of the directory is now hosted on this site. SCOLMA also organises conferences and seminars on bibliographical, library and publishing topics relating to Africa and contributes speakers and panels to other related conferences and workshops.