Kodzo Gavua, Director of the A.G. Leventis Digital Resource Centre (University of Ghana)
David Adjartey, Leventis Digital Resource Centre, University of Ghana
Jacob Nii Marley, Leventis Digital Resource Centre, University of Ghana
Ivan Nyamasekpor, Leventis Digital Resource Centre, University of Ghana
SYNOPSIS AND POSITION
The Ghana Lab will investigate ways in which the diverse groups of people found along the Ghanaian coast memorialise their past and engage with their social and physical environment to coexist in relative peace and amity, despite their historical circumstances of strife and devastation. The coast is the earliest site in sub-Saharan Africa where direct, large scale African-European interactions began. Its people derive from diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds. Shortly after 1471 when Portuguese merchants began interacting with them, the people became subjugated by a succession of European establishments, including those of the Dutch, Danes, Germans, and the British, until 1957 when Ghana became a nation-state. Armed and other forms of conflict characterized interactions between the various groups of people. Institutions, values, and other ways of life the Europeans introduced and, in many cases, imposed on the local people conflicted with established traditions and engendered lingering intra- and inter-group discord. Information we shall assemble and make accessible on the legacies of this coastal history, including how the local people memorialise slavery and how they strategise and mediate their life conditions, and on divergences and intersections that may be found, should inform the people’s future.
OBJECTIVES AND METHODS
We wish to assemble and make accessible information on how Ghana’s coastal people identify and define themselves, major historical conflict situations and events the people recall, how and why they memorialise these situations, and how they engage and interface with their past and navigate their conflict situations to live in relative peace. Guided by the University of Ghana’s Ethics Policy, we shall adopt an eclectic study approach, collaborating with various stakeholders to gather information on variables that foment tension, conflict, and peace among the people. We shall focus on Elmina where Portuguese merchants first settled and in 1482 built São Jorge da Mina, the oldest European edifice in sub-Saharan Africa, but extend our study to Jamestown in Accra and Keta in Anlo to ensure fair representation of the Ghanaian coast. We shall study how relevant archaeological and historic sites, structures and objects, local performances, and folklore express and reflect the people’s past and present. Overall, we shall obtain formally and informally archived information that humanities research often glosses over, explore the landscape itself as an archive and expose archiving processes that reflect multiple co-existing experiences and memorialisations of value and relevance.
WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS
Digital Heritage Data Management Workshop, Nov. 19-23, 2018. LDRC in collaboration with University of Victoria and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.
Photography and Film-making Workshop, July 1-5, 2019. LDRC in collaboration with the University of Victoria and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.
Jamestown – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: An exhibition on the Ga-Mashie Boxing Heritage, 27 Jan – 4 Feb 2022 at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra, Ghana. The exhibition explored the impact boxing has had on the Ga-Mashie community both recreationally and commercially and also presented Ghanaian history from an alternative perspective – one that unites rather than separates people. For more information, including seeing young boxers in action follow the links here: Boxing Heritage of Ghana – Youtube and https://youtu.be/jT_Ig-oErJE
- Preliminary site visits to Elmina, Jamestown, and Keta to identify and select informant/local field assistants
- Liaising with University of Ghana authorities towards the signing of the project agreement
- Telephone/social media correspondence with prospective field assistants and project stakeholders, including youth leaders, opinion leaders, heads of schools and families, religious leaders, officials of museums and monuments, media personnel, and traditional authorities.
AFFILIATED GROUPS AND ORGANISATIONS
- Ghana’s Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD)
- Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB)
- Ghana Heritage Committee (Ghana Commission for UNESCO)
- Ghana Education Service
- Jamestown Sub-Metropolitan Assembly
- Jamestown Gbekebii (www.jamestowngbekebiifoundation.com)
- Voice of waste (www.voiceofwaste.com)
- Firebeads Media (benpaali.org)
- KEEA District Assembly
- Edina Konkobesia (Fishmongers Association, Elmina)
- Edina Traditional Council
- Edina Catholic Diocese
- Keta Municipal Assembly
- Keta Evangelical Presbyterian Mission