The Museum of British Colonialism was initiated by Susan Kibaara, Tayiana Chao, Mary Njoroge and Olivia Windham Stewart in January 2018.
The team has recently expanded to include a small number of volunteers, researchers, and content developers in the UK and Kenya collaborating to gather and present archival documents and footage, photographs, oral testimony, documentary footage, press clippings, letters, and objects so that we may realise the exhibition.
I'm Susan Kibaara, Deputy Director of Records Management at Nairobi City County. I have been trained in knowledge management which has come in handy with this project. I come from a family that has a rich history of being involved with the Mau Mau and being part of this project has actually made me meet some of my relatives heavily involved in the fight for Kenyan independence. The Museum of British Colonialism is a baby I have watched grown from paperwork to real-time projects and I am enjoying every milestone. My wish is for us to leave a legacy on our history that will forever be shared by both the current and future generations.
I’m Olivia. I grew up in the UK and have a varied professional background working in arts, heritage, media and social justice. Over the last few years, my work in the latter increasingly took me to countries that had once been part of the British Empire, particularly in South / South East Asia, where I would work to improve working conditions in international supply chains and factories, mainly servicing Western markets.
Spending time in these countries and making so many good friends there exposed me to a history I had never really come across before. One I hadn’t learned in school and is rarely, truly spoken about with honesty, especially in the white British community. After becoming fixated by the Mau Mau case in particular, I reached out to try and find some collaborators in Kenya with the hope of getting a pilot project off the ground that could help raise awareness across communities, and bring some light to this period of our history. That was just a few months ago… now here we are!
Camilla Omollo, a student and history enthusiast. I grew up learning about the illustrious life of Henry VII, Aztec Pyramids, the Great War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. All of these were extremely interesting topics but it was only when I got to university that I realised how little I knew about Kenyan history and, consequently, about my own identity. I've actively tried to remedy that since then, and getting involved with the Museum was a perfect opportunity to engage more deeply with the nuances of my country's past, and to contribute to enhancing public knowledge on our history.
I'm Chao , a digital heritage specialist and overall history geek. After starting a history blog in 2012, I realised that the history I was taught growing up had significant gaps, was impersonal and had no room for personal stories and memories. Since then, I have been doing various projects to document history/ culture through digital media and this journey has led me here.
Here at the museum, I focus on engagement, preservation and visualisation and currently run African Digital Heritage. I am excited to work on this project to document a history that is very important to many but known by so few. And to create a space where history can be appreciated truthfully and without bias.
I’m Gabe Moshenska, an archaeologist at UCL. I’ve been working on the archaeology of internment camps for many years, and I have a long-standing interest in the history of British imperialism and colonialism. My grandmother spent time in a British military internment camp in Cyprus in the 1940s, and my grandfather did his national service in Malaya during the Emergency.
Their lives and stories sparked my interest in this and I began to study the history of the Mau Mau – and the archaeology as well. What is the value of an archaeological approach to these sites? I hope that studying the remains of the camps will illuminate the technologies of structural violence, the lives of the prisoners (and their captors), and help to record and preserve the archaeological heritage.
I'm David Nzioka, a father of three (cameraman and video) with over 15 years of experience in charge of production with Triplecam Productions. I have been involved in documenting different events cutting across different sectors such as IT, agriculture, finance, and energy. I am very interested in Mau Mau history and excited to be involved with this project.
I'm Hannah McLean, a graduate student in Public Archaeology at UCL. I've always been very interested in the politics surrounding history and archaeology, particularly the ways in which heritage is involved in social change, and how the narratives of our past are presented. When I heard about the Museum through my university, I thought this would be an amazing opportunity to make some real change with regards to how our colonial history is understood. It's always shocked me how little the British public - and myself - know about our imperial history, particularly when it's so clear to those that were affected.
I'm Adam, a graduate student in African Studies and Social Anthropology at SOAS. I speak fluent Swahili and have extensive experience travelling, researching and writing in East Africa, mainly on the arts and popular culture. I am passionate about knowledge produced on the African continent and improving knowledge of Africa in the UK. Volunteering with the Museum and actively engaging with the Mau Mau legacy has, among other things, enabled me to better understand the nuances of contemporary Kenya.
Advisers and Supporters
We are grateful to the many advisers and supporters of the museum project including Julian Berger, Sugata Bose, Francisco Carballo, Ian Cobain, Michael Dwyer, Caroline Elkins, Meredith Garner, Maria Kaladeen, Sarah Lewis, Sue Malden, David Martin, John McGhie, Thant Myint U, Caroline Needham, Vinay Patel, Sanjay Seth, Dan Snow, and Alex von Tunzelmann.
If you are interested in getting involved in the project, or hearing more, please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be sharing more information on this team soon!
If you are interested in talking with us or being involved in our work please feel free to contact us by email on:
or by phone on:
+44 7814 273 789 (UK) or +254 722 351 808 (Kenya)