Posts Tagged ‘secondary school


days 23 and 24, kinolhas

First to start off with the excitement of today: the Male’ ferry arrived a short while ago with a drone that is being lent to us (see here to find out how we discovered its existence), and the ingredients for the cheesecake which David wants to make on Friday.


More widely though, these have been a busy few days.

Visit by members of the island council


Recovery of a small cache of cowrie shells


Visit by a school group



Lots more stone, lots more pot



Lunchbreak swim in the medieval harbour



back to school

Annalisa delivers a talk to pupils at Ghaazee Bandarain School, Utheemu.


She outlines what archaeology consists of – the subject is not even taughr at undergraduate level in the country – and ties it into what we have been doing here on the island.



exhibition – 3

Some skeleton resources are now up on the SCVA Education pages. These will be improved over the coming days but they already give a sense of the questions and content behind the Crossroads project exhibition, which opens Tuesday and will run until 1 February.

You can also see here a short piece by Crossroads project student Nadia K, about what her work involves.



City Academy/Ahmadu Kurandaga project

Several people have asked me in the past couple of weeks about the project Hannah and I did together in 2012 involving schools in Norwich and Zinder, so here is the link again. This will take you straight to the video stating the Norwich children’s view. If any of you are reading this I would love to hear about what you are up to now; and Hannah (and Benedetta, with whom the Hausa project was hatched), see you Monday at the exhibition opening!


Depicting Africa concludes

Our web site is now live.

This website is the result of an outreach project organised by Anne Haour and Hannah Swain (City Academy Norwich-CAN), and it paired 26 children from CAN with pupils from the Lycée Amadou Kourandaga in Zinder, Niger.

The objective was to confront the often negative perceptions that pupils hold about Africa and Islam and to create a teaching resource that can be used in classrooms across the UK to do the same.

Another purpose was to expose the City Academy Norwich students to UEA life in order to raise expectations in this school of traditionally very low Higher Education participation rates.

Read more in previous posts: here, here and especially here.

Please give us many hits!


Perceptions of Africa in school – 13 days to go and we’re live

Our project on perceptions of Africa has now almost concluded, as we’re in the final stages of preparing our teaching resource, a website which will go live on 12 November. In the meantime, if you can’t bear the wait, you can see my note on the London School of Economics ‘Impact of Social Sciences’ blog. It’s entitled “Bringing research to a wider audience, and having an impact on the young, is easier when there is a meeting of the minds”.


Depicting Africa

Last week saw the conclusion of the ‘Depicting Africa’ project I had been working on for the past three months with Miss Hannah S from the secondary school City Academy (see previous post). The City Academy students designed tours of the Sainsbury Centre, section by section (Africa, Americas, Oceania, and Art Nouveau) and delivered it to their peers. Favoured objects included the Middle Kingdom hippo, Epstein’s baby head and the Luba-Hemba staff. Children also had an opportunity to talk to student ambassadors about life as university students.

Depicting Africa is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and is a collaboration between UEA and City Academy. Over the weeks we have worked with one Year 7 class at City Academy (11-12 year olds) to try and challenge negative ideas they have about Africa and to think, more generally, about how stereotypes hinder people’s opportunities (including the chance of going to university for those able and willing).

The City Academy schoolchildren were paired with peers from the Lycée Ahmadou Kourandaga in Zinder, Niger. They exchanged emails, letters, and spoke on Skype. The City Academy schoolchildren presented news bulletins on the Egyptian cabinet, reflected on Hajj and Christian pilgrimage, researched Madagascar and Ethiopia, thought about what makes a person or an artefacts English, helped cook a Nigerian meal, reflected on angels and light in Christianity and Islam, wrote descriptions of British Museum artefacts from the Hausa area, discussed how one defines ethnic identity and visited the UEA mosque. They designed questionnaires for their Nigérien peers, conducted secondary and primary research, and began to look more critically at news reports which present only the glum from Africa.

At the beginning of the project, we had asked the children to give five words they associated with Africa. ‘Dirty water’, ‘Poor’ and ‘Hot’ came up a lot. At the end of the project we asked them the same question again and, unsurprisingly, the answers had changed (more on this later, after some number-crunching, but ‘polite’ and ‘middle class’ came up).

Over the coming months we will be designing a teaching resource (a DVD with lesson plans, Powerpoints etc.) which will be sent to other secondary schools in the UK.

It is of course never a one-way street. Perhaps it is not just the children who have changed outlook – all of us Africanists (and Africanist sympathisers) who took part have learnt much. Which was part of the point of the project. In terms of skills, responding to deep metaphysical questions in a single sentence for fear of losing your audience was certainly something for me to work on. The impact of the aid sector in shaping children’s images of Africa was also something to reflect upon…


Being and becoming Hausa

As an aside to the Crossroads project, I am really happy to say that the two UK research councils running the Religion and Society project – the ESRC and the AHRC, namely Economic & Social Research and Arts & Humanities – are funding our new project to engage with schoolchildren in Norwich and Zinder, building on the findings of a project Dr Benedetta R and I ran in 2008, called Being and becoming Hausa.

The idea back in 2008 was to bring researchers together to discuss what it means to be Hausa today, and how this sense of identity and belonging has emerged over time (read it all here). Now, with the aid of teachers at City Academy Norwich and the Lycée Ahmadou Kourandaga in Zinder (Niger), we will be discussing ideas of religion and identity with pupils aged 11-15. We’ll encourage pupils to reflect on two fronts: the way in which their identity is historically constructed, and whether their notions of West Africa are shaped by stereotypes of changeless societies and radical Islamism, often promoted by the media. Specifically, we will think with them about what it means to be Hausa, from the North Earlham estate, from Norwich, from Birni; Muslim, Anglican, atheist – how they feel the media portray them, and what factors shape their sense of self. We want to have a strong historical dimension to all of this, because although today religion plays a major role in defining, and often dividing, communities, the Being and becoming Hausa project showed this is not an historical inevitability.

Ultimately there will be a blog charting our collective learning process, and a teaching resource that we will disseminate to other schools and place on the ESRC’s Social Science for Schools website. The aim is to make a wider impact on the cultural awareness of UK youth by breaking down stereotypes about identity and religion, both in West Africa and in the UK, and to improve pupils’ thinking skills and creative output. Through its cross-curricular slant linked into Key Stage 3 of the recently revised National Curriculum, the project will also support UK schools in implementing an integrated project which will enable students to make links between different subject areas.

This project is part of the efforts by the AHRC and the ESRC to publicise the undeniable impact that research in those fields makes to society today and its contribution to wider knowledge beyond academia.

About this blog

This blog has been set up to chart the activities and research findings of two projects led by Anne Haour, an archaeologist from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

The first project, called Crossroads, brings together a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin (West Africa). We are hoping to shed more light on the people that inhabited the area in the past 1500 years and to understand how population movements and craft techniques shaped the area's past.

The second project, called Cowries, examines the money cowrie, a shell which served as currency, ritual object and ornament across the world for millennia, and in medieval times most especially in the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean and the Sahelian regions of West Africa. We hope to understand how this shell was sourced and used in those two areas.

These investigations are funded by the European Research Council as part of the Starting Independent Researcher Programme (Seventh Framework Programme – FP7) and by the Leverhulme Trust as a Research Project Grant. The opinions posted here are however Anne Haour's own!

Please log in often, comment and/or subscribe to keep up to date with what's happening.

Blog Stats

  • 37,419 hits

Recent posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. There will be a special prize for the 50th subscriber

Join 164 other followers


July 2020