30 Okt 2018

AFRICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION UK – CONFERENCE REPORT

by Lydia Amoah

DAAD Graduate School sponsored two Ghanaian students; Ms. Lydia Amoah, and Mr Amos Darkwa Asare and its Board of Director (Ghana) Prof Florian Carl to attend the African studies Association biennial conference at the University of Birmingham, UK. Preliminary preparations included two meetings to decide which students to represent the panel and other matters.

We presented our papers on the panel: Culture and Sustainability in West Africa under the stream ‘Space, Pace, Ace: Navigating Creative Rooms for Productivity in Africa’. The stream Organizer and Chair was our own steering committee member Dr Eric Debrah Otchere.

Papers in this stream were to engage creative ways in which space is constituted in the light of specific challenges in Africa and how coping mechanisms evolve within the confines of this space. The kinds of space that can be addressed include (but are not limited to): artistic, literary, historical, expressive, geographical, spiritual, physical/absolute and abstract. Our panel generated a lively discussion after our presentations.

In the first day we attended a few sessions and settled in our student accommodation later in the evening. Subsequent days were met with different choices of sessions to attend whilst we made new friends and reconnected with colleagues from previous fellowships and academic conferences attended. Most of them from Ghana and Nigeria. A number of them were from other African Universities and few more were Graduate students in the UK. I was glad to have met Prof Murry Last (he was one of the facilitators at Abuja workshop II) who was in a conversation with Prof Thomas McCaskie (a renowned historian in Asante histories) at one of the sessions and re-introduced myself to him. We had the opportunity to discuss the SDG project with colleagues and friends who were hearing about the project for the first time.

We still believe students within the SDG-Graduate School should be given more opportunities like this not only to present papers but also to promote the project to the outside world.