Researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam visit UCD

Dr Annalisa Christie and colleagues in the UCD School of Archaeology recently hosted a team of researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam’s department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, led by Dr Elgidius Ichumbaki Bwinabona.

In 2020, UCD and UDSM were awarded €30,248 in Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility funding by the Higher Education Authority, Ireland's Erasmus+ National Agency to support the academic mobility of students and staff between the two institutions. This latest visit enables staff and students in both institutions to share knowledge, perspectives, and new research methods in the area of cultural heritage management. 

Image, from left to right: Ms Neema Clement Munisi; Ms Eve Brosseau; Dr Annalisa Christie; Dr Elgidius Ichumbaki Bwinabona; Ms Sinyati Robinson Mark; Dr Meriel McClatchie

UCD-UDSM Collaboration

The UCD-UDSM collaboration is developing a heritage-focussed research agenda to support the establishment of a residential school in Tanzania. This will facilitate the delivery of MSc dissertations, and the co-creation of a heritage research project in the Mafia archipelago. Dr Ichumbaki’s time at UCD also allowed him and Dr Christie to develop a paper reflecting on the development and delivery of an online module in African heritage management. This is currently offered to UDSM students and students registered on the Grad Dip/ MSc in World Heritage Conservation programme at UCD.

These activities advance the UCD-UDSM collaboration’s long-term ambitions to nurture a transcontinental training programme for cultural heritage management in Africa in the context of world heritage management. It will enable countries developing their cultural resource management capacity to work with those possessing established strategies. It will also introduce students and staff to new perspectives, challenges, and forms of collaboration. Their Erasmus+ ICM project takes this creation of shared and mutually-informed teaching and learning spaces further, centering ground-up capacity building on local interests, values and requirements. 

Collaboration on Research Methods

Dr Ichumbaki was joined by Ms Neema Clement Munisi and Ms Sinyati Robinson Mark to undertake training in innovative research methods. They worked with Dr Barry Molloy and  Dr Vana Orfanou in the Laboratory for Artefact Biographies. This lab was created as part of Dr Molloy’s ERC Consolidator project ‘The Fall of 1200BC: The role of migration and conflict in social crises at end of the Bronze Age in South-eastern Europe’. Through this work they aimed to gain experience in lab-based analysis of trade beads, which can currently only be analysed outside of Tanzania due to capacity restrictions.

Ms Munisi also worked with Susannah Kelly, a conservator within the School, who provided training in the physical conservation of material culture and the curation and display of objects in museological contexts. These skills were put into practice as Ms Munisi, with the assistance of Dr Christie and Dr Joanna Day from the School of Classics, also curated a display in the UCD Classics Museum entitled ‘Beads are Life: Their Use and Value Through Time’. This will be a unique resource for the UCD community. Ms Mark’s visit focussed on the development of a proposal for the Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship. During her stay, she worked closely with Dr Meriel McClatchie who also provided training in archaeobotanical collection and analysis.

More on the Erasmus+ ICM Exchange

The Erasmus+ ICM exchange enables staff and students in both institutions to share knowledge, perspectives, and new research methods in the area of cultural heritage management. During their visit, the UDSM team engaged widely in various teaching activities - sharing their experiences with undergraduate, masters and PhD cohorts. In keeping with the spirit of the second core objective of ‘Rising to the Future’, the exchange has provided ‘an inclusive educational experience that defines international best practice’. It does so by giving UCD students in three Schools the opportunity to discuss perspectives on cultural management. They can also see how a diverse range of methods and techniques they are learning about in the classroom are being applied in the field globally.

Furthermore, in delivering a busy schedule of seminars and events within the School, and hosted by colleagues from the UCD Earth Institute and School of Classics, the UDSM team have demonstrated the potential of such projects to facilitate multi-disciplinary collaborations within the wider UCD community. This was highlighted particularly well by Dr Ichumbaki’s presentation ‘Saving the Past by Building Sustainable Futures in sub-Saharan Africa’. The presentation demonstrated how cross-disciplinary collaborations and co-creation with local communities can help facilitate sustainable development, and in doing so, can help protect heritage sites.