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African Studies Library: Audio-Visual

Your one-stop-shop for all things African Studies at the University of Cambridge

Help with Audio-Visual Material in Cambridge

film projector, mixed media equipment, vinyl records

The Cambridge Electronic Management Collection team has compiled a comprehensive LibGuide for Audio-visual resources available to members of the University.

Audio-Visual Archives and Resources

  • Access the British Library's list of visual collections on Africa 

  • Africa in the Photobook - Africa in the Photobook is a website initiated in 2015 by photographer and (photo)historian Ben Krewinkel. The website is about the changing visual representation of Africa as expressed through the medium of the photobook. 

  • Africa Through A Lens (National Archives UK) - "Explore incredible photographs spanning over 100 years of African history, from the 1860s onwards, taken from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office photographic collection (CO 1069) 

  • African Film Database - "The African Film Database is a collaborative digital project that seeks to create a catalog of films from and about the continent of Africa."

  • African Writers' Club  (Raven login) - "The African Writers Club collection comprises over 250 hours of radio programmes recorded in the 1960s at the Transcription Centre, London, under its Director Dennis Duerden. The tapes were distributed for broadcast by radio stations in Africa and elsewhere..."  Interviews include : Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ama Ata Aidoo & many more.

  • Archive of Malian Photography - Circa 100,000 photographic negatives from the archives of Mamadou Cissé, Adama Kouyaté, Abdourahmane Sakaly, Malick Sidibé, and Tijani Sitou for long-term preservation and access.  Spanning the 1940s-90s, this collection reveals changes and continuities in political and cultural practices, social trends, and photographic production in Mali during the twentieth century.  

  • Consult the British Library's audio collections on Africa

  • Filmed Interviews with Leading Thinkers - compiled by Alan Macfarlane, Department of Social Anthropology (Cambridge) - this archive includes interviews with researchers such as: Ray AbrahamsJean & John ComaroffMeyer FortesClifford GeertzJack Goody; and the founder of African Studies at Cambridge, Audrey Richards.  Originally focusing on Social Anthropologists, the collection now houses over 240 interviews with leading thinkers across the disciplines.

  • ICRC Audiovisual Archives - "The ICRC’s collections of sound recordings, film footage, videos and photos illustrate and document the activities of the ICRC and of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as a whole from the end of the 19th century up to the present day, in all operational contexts." Coverage includes response to: the Ebola crisis; decolonization wars; and current situations in Mozambique, South Sudan, and DRC.

  • G I Jones Photographic Archive Southeastern Nigerian Art & Culture -   The photographs in this archive were taken in the 1930s by the late G. I. Jones. 

  • Norman Miller Archive - "a free-to-use collection of print materials from Eastern Africa, and film and photo materials from Afghanistan, Bolivia, China, Kenya, and Taiwan. Norman Miller (1933-) is one of the first American field workers who spent long periods of time in remote regions of Kenya and Tanzania, beginning in the British colonial era"

  • Northcote Thomas Website project  - "On this site you will be able to explore part of the extraordinary collection of Northcote Whitridge Thomas (1868-1936) held at the Museum for Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge."

  • Old and New in Shona Religion - "This multimedia website showcases the photography and work of Dr. M.L. Daneel, including his research among the Shona people of Southern Africa in the 1960s through the 1990s in Zimbabwe from the mid to late 20th century"

  • Royal Commonwealth Society (part of the main University Library) - "a treasure-trove of information, pictorial and written, print and manuscript, on the Commonwealth and Britain's former colonial territories, comprising over 300,000 printed items, about 800 archival collections (including manuscript diaries, correspondence, pictures, cine films, scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings) and over 120,000 photographs."

  • Royal Commonwealth Society digitised collections (hosted by Cambridge Digital Library) 

African Studies Library

The Library's holdings of audio and visual material can be found using the iDiscover catalogue, or by browsing the cases that are on display by the issue desk:

  • Programmes relating to Africa shown on British domestic television since the beginning of 1994 to the present (these were first recorded on videotape, and later directly to DVD -  any remaining programmes on video are gradually being transferred to DVD).

  • Truth Commission Special Reports broadcast on South African television from 1996 to 1998.

  • A small number of feature films and various commercial DVDs, including those recommended for the MPhil in African Studies.

  • The Library also has a small number of CD-ROMs and some audio CDs.  These can either be used in the Library or borrowed on 7 day loan (or longer, if the CD accompanies a book).

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)

BoB (Box of Broadcasts)

Powered by Learning on Screen, BoB is an on demand broadcast recording service and digital archive, offering access to over 75 off air television and radio channels including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Arte, Al Jazeera, Sky Arts and CNN among others. All the programmes can be recorded by users up to 30 days after broadcast. As a digital archive, BoB consists of over 3 million fiction and non-fiction broadcasts going back to the 1950s. You can create playlists and make clips to enhance your teaching, research and learning.

Login to BoB straight away using your Raven password or watch these 'How to Use BoB' short videos to help you get started.

Any questions? Contact the BoB team:

UK African Film Festivals

  • Africa in Motion (AIM) Scotland African Film Festival - Africa in Motion (AiM) is an annual African film festival taking place in Scotland, consisting of film screenings and complementary events. 

  • Film Africa (RAS) - "Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best African cinema from across the continent and diaspora."

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