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The Restitution Debate – Where Are We Now?

November 14, 2022 @ 18:00 - 20:00

Chaired by Onyekachi Wambu, Return of the Icons Programme, AFFORD


Dr Monica Hanna, Associate Professor and Acting Dean of the College of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, Arab Academy for Science and Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Aswan, Egypt.  She is an international figure in the world of Archaeology. Dr. Monica Hanna, did her undergraduate studies in Egyptology and Archaeological Chemistry at the American University in Cairo (AUC), 2004.  Dr Hanna then pursued an MA TEFL 2006 at AUC as well. She later joined the University of Pisa, Italy to complete her doctorate in archaeology entitled ‘Problems of Preservation of Mural Paintings in the Theban Necropolis: A Pilot Study on the Theban Tomb 14 using 3D Scanning Techniques’.  

Dr Hanna has been granted numerous awards including the SAFE beacon award for 2014 for her efforts in the salvage of antiquities under conflict and was named by UNESCO the Monuments Woman of 2014. She has also received ‘Distinguished AUC Alumna’ two times, once in Cairo 2014 and the other in New York 2015. Her current research focuses on decolonizing archaeology, repatriation and restitution amongst methods for accessibility for the wider public to archaeology and heritage with a particular interest in digital humanities. 

In 2020, she was chosen from the 50 most influential women in Egypt under the auspices of the Egyptian Prime Minister.  She was also awarded a research grant as part of Action for Restitution in Africa in collaboration with University of Oxford where she is working on starting a solid discourse of decolonizing western museum collections. 

Dr Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, was recently appointed Associate Professor in Heritage Studies, UCL Institute of Archaeology. Prior to this, she was Senior Curator of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum, Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, and has over 10 years of experience working in museums. The focus of her museum practice is opening up museum collections to community-led research and projects. Her research explores mid-century museum practice, and its intersection with colonialism, as well as the colonial history and inheritance of milk and dairy. Johanna is Chair of the Museum Ethnographers Group, the primary SSN for museum practitioners working with cultural collections.

Professor Kodzo Gavua, Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies University of GhanaUniversity of Ghana, is an Associate Professor of Archaeology and Heritage Studies and Director of the Leventis Digital Resource Centre at the University of Ghana. He holds an MA and a Ph.D. from the University of Calgary, and an MA in International Affairs from the University of Ghana. He researches the effects of early cross-cultural interactions on society, culture, cultural heritage, and economic development in West Africa. Gavua is the founding Dean of the University of Ghana’s School of Arts, a Trustee of the Ghana Culture Forum, and chairperson of the Ghana Heritage Committee’s Technical unit. 

Phumzile Nombuso Twala, Heritage professional (South Africa) Virtual Attendance.In 2020  Phumzile Nombuso Twal was awarded a DAC Heritage-related studies Bursary as well as the Robben Island Museum Bursary and RIM Education Internship.  

In 2020 Phumzile Nombuso Twala was a Visiting Lecturer for the University of the Underground New Politics and Afrofuturism Programme. Phumzile Nombuso Twala’s presentation titled “Umsamu womlando wama-Taxi” expanded on the impact of colonialism on vehicle mobility in South Africa- through the lens of the history and heritage of the minibus taxi industry in SA.  

In 2020 Phumzile Nombuso Twala was co-curator(alongside Teresa Lizamore) of the Give Her A Crown Campaign, led by The Change Collective Africa. 

In 2021 Phumzile Nombuso Twala was Research Assistant for the Brandfort Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Interpretive Centre/Museum Exhibition Design Project and the When Rain Clouds Gather Exhibition at Norval Foundation. 

She is currently a Research Coordinator at Andani.Africa.  

Dr. Lennon Mhishi, Pitt Rivers Museum, (UK) is a Project Researcher on the project Reconnecting “Objects”:Epistemic Plurality and Transformative Practices in and Beyond Museums funded by VW Stiftung. Mhishi is an anthropologist whose interdisciplinary work spans interests in Africa and its diasporas, the afterlives of slavery and colonialism, and the approaches to contemporary forms of exploitation forced labour and human rights in different African countries. Mhishi has experience in migration and diaspora, heritage, music, and other arts-based, creative approaches to knowledge-making and engagement. Mhishi is keen to pursue a research agenda, curatorial and museum practice that centres community-engaged, collaborative, antiracist, and inclusive practice. 

For the Reconnecting “Objects” project, Mhishi will be collaborating with partners in Oxford (UK), Cape Town (South Africa), Dakar (Senegal), Dschang (Cameroon) and Berlin (Germany) to, among other things, explore colonial collections and to deliver two major exhibitions, opening simultaneously in Dakar and Oxford in 2024. In addition, Mhishi will be co-producing written work and other outputs from the research. 

Dr. Frezer Getache. Haile is an experienced communications strategist and foreign policy expert with a decade of experience advising public sector and international organisations in Africa, Europe and Asia. 

Dr Haile is currently a strategic adviser at Project Associates, a boutique consultancy firm, helping clients navigate complicated, transnational challenges of a political nature, involving policy issues, litigation, investments, elections or major crises. 

Prior to this, he served as a senior advisor at the Ethiopian Embassy in London, during which time he was responsible for the Ethiopian Government’s work on restitution in the UK and led its negotiations with a variety of UK cultural institutions. He holds a doctorate in political geography from King’s College London.

This event has been created in partnership with SOAS University



November 14, 2022
18:00 - 20:00
Event Category:
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