Staff and research

Staff all over the University have a research interest in Africa.  

African Studies and Anthropology

Professor Karin Barber

Karin’s main interest is African everyday culture, with a central focus on verbal texts, both oral and written, in African languages. Most of her research has been concentrated on the Yoruba speaking area of southwestern Nigeria. 

Dr Maxim Bolt

Maxim conducted his doctoral fieldwork along South Africa’s border with Zimbabwe, between 2006 and 2008, during acute economic and political troubles in Zimbabwe. Since his PhD research, he has worked as the anthropologist on the British Museum’s comparative, collaborative ‘Money in Africa’ project, alongside historians and an economic historian. As part of this project, he has conducted research with central banks in Nigeria and Uganda, and with small businesspeople in Malawi.

Dr Reg Cline Cole

Dr Cline-Cole is a (human) geographer by training and multi-disciplinary researcher by choice; and he has, to date, had the good fortune of practising these ‘trades’ within the three related disciplines of Geography, Environmental Studies and, currently, Area Studies. 

Dr Insa Nolte

Dr Nolte's work is based on two decades of engagement with Nigeria, and she is particularly interested in Nigerian politics, Muslim-Christian relations and Yoruba history. Dr Nolte provides regular advice on Nigeria to governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Dr Benedetta Rossi

Benedetta Rossi's current research focuses on emancipation from slavery in West Africa. Her recent work and publications consider issues related to slavery, migrations, government, ethnicity, and planned development in Niger and Northern Nigeria (Hausa and Tuareg societies).

Dr Keith Shear

Dr Shear is interested in many aspects of African (but particularly Southern African) history and politics.  He is currently researching how the South African state coped with domestic political dissent during the 1940s.

Dr Kate Skinner

Dr Skinner is currently working on a historical ethnography, combining the life histories of a cohort of rural political activists with a close study of the African (Ewe) language propaganda that circulated along the Ghana-Togo border area before and after Independence.


Birmingham Law School

Professor Nelson Enonchong

Professor Enonchong is the author of three major practitioner works in the field of banking and commercial law. He has advised in a number of complex international commercial disputes and has acted as an arbitrator in international commercial arbitrations.

He has written numerous articles for the Journal of African Law and the African Journal of  International and Comparative Law.

Emeritus Professor Gordon Woodman

Professor Gordon Woodman has had a long career at Birmingham Law School and has been a consultant for governments, aid agencies, NGOs and the World Bank, and an expert witness in court proceedings which involve issues of African law.

French Studies

Dr Berny Sèbe

Brought up in France and the Sahara desert Berny Sèbe has academic interests in the history of nineteenth and twentieth century European imperial history, decolonization and post-colonialism and in the history of the Sahara from 1880 to the present. He also has a personal interest in desert photography. Dr Sèbe’s teaching covers areas such as Franco-African relations and cinema, media and visual culture.

International Development

Danielle Beswick

Danielle’s research is increasingly situated at the interface of security and development, focusing on how fragile and conflict affected states seek to improve their security through their relationships with aid donors. Danielle is currently developing research on the role of small African states in African peacekeeping and security initiatives and the UK's involvement in facilitating these processes. 


Dr Jonathan Fisher

Jonathan’s research is focused on the relationship between Western aid donors and African states, particularly those in eastern Africa. Within this he is particularly interested in how donors ‘construct’ perceptions of foreign governments and key concepts (eg ‘fragile state’) in international development. He is also interested in the extent to which these ‘knowledge construction’ processes are influenced by African actors and bureaucratic structures as well as by policy-makers themselves. He is currently working on a project on Somali international relations since 2001.


Dr Heather Marquette

Dr Heather Marquette is Senior Lecturer in Governance in the International Development Department (IDD), and is the Director of the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre ( She has 13 years international experience in research, policy advice, consultancy and training in governance. A political scientist by background, she has particular interests and expertise in anti-corruption reforms and strategies, political economy analysis, good governance, state-building, aid policy, the transition to democracy and civic education. She has worked primarily on Africa, and Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana in particular, as well as Afghanistan and India.


Dr Fiona Nunan

Fiona’s research interests are within the broad area of environment and development, particularly in terms of how institutional arrangements enable or constrain access to renewable natural resources by the poor. She is currently working on coastal ecosystem and livelihoods projects in Kenya and Sri Lanka. Before returning to the University in 2008, she worked for five years in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania on fisheries co-management projects and has published a number of articles from her inland fisheries experience. She also has experience in natural resource and livelihoods research in Ghana and Mozambique.


Political Science and International Studies

Marco Vieira

Marco's research is currently focused on the rising influence of ‘South powers’, specially South Africa, India and Brazil, and their growing importance in reshaping global governance structures, including areas such as institutional frameworks to tackle climate change, international trade and finance, and the reform of UN’s Security Council.

School of Education

Dr Tom Bisschoff

Dr Bisschoff started his career as a high school teacher in economics and accountancy. He was a member of the academic staff of the following tertiary institutions: University of South Africa (Pretoria, South Africa), Central University of Technology (Bloemfontein, South Africa), Vista University (Sebokeng, South Africa) and the University of Johannesburg before joining the University of Birmingham in 2008.    He is presently involved in a five year research project on failing schools in South Africa funded by the South African National Research Foundation. 

Emeritus Professor Clive Harber

From 1995-9, Professor Harber was head of the school of Education at the then University of Natal, South Africa and was head of the School of Education, University of Birmingham from 2003-2006. His most recent research has involved a study of a quality of education project in four African countries (Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) for Save the Children Norway and a study teaching controversial issues in teacher education in England and South Africa.


Theology and Religion

Professor Allan Anderson

Raised in Zimbabwe, Professor Anderson began his academic career in South Africa before joining the University of Birmingham in 2005.  His research interests are in the areas of the history, mission and theology of Pentecostalism in Africa and Asia.

Dr Sigvard von Sicard

Dr von Sicard's research interests are centred around Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa.He is currently involved in research on the potential of the concept of the Kingdom of God as a means towards a deeper understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Dr von Sicard is currently editing an East African manuscript entitled "Kawkab al-Durriya li Akhbar Ifriqiya".

Classics and Ancient History

Dr Gareth Sears

Dr Sears is a Roman historian who teaches and researches on the city, city life and religious change in the Roman world and in particular late Roman North Africa. He has co-directed archaeological work at Cyrene in Libya. 

Accounting and Finance

Professor Victor Murinde

Professor Murinde currently provides advisory services to government, companies and international organisations, including the World Bank, the United Nations, UNCTAD, Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research, African Development Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank.  His current research interests include: microstructure issues in emerging financial markets; capital structure and dividend policy; bank performance and risk; flow-of-funds, financial development and poverty reduction.

Civil Engineering

Dr Cynthia Carliell-Marquett

Dr Cynthia Carliell-Marquet, a Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Birmingham, is a leading researcher in resource recovery from anaerobic digestion of biomass wastes. Dr Carliell-Marquet has been successful in winning research funding from the EPSRC and the UK Water Industry and is currently working on international projects with researchers in India, Switzerland, South Africa, and Australia.

Mechanical Engineering

Dr Remi Olatunbosun

Dr Olatunbosun is originally from Nigeria and was on the academic staff at the University of Lagos before joining Birmingham. He retains close links with University of Lagos and was a visiting professor in the Faculty of Engineering in 2007/08. Dr Olatunbosun regularly gives lectures and seminars at the University of Lagos and he also helps the International Office with recruitment in Nigeria.


Professor Graham Martin

Professor Graham Martin is an Ornithologist with an international reputation built upon his research into the sensory worlds of birds. In recent years he has used his expertise to focus on understanding why some bird species are particularly vulnerable to collisions with human artefacts such as wind turbines and power lines.

This work has taken him to southern Africa where he has worked on the collision vulnerability of Blue Cranes, bustards and vultures whose populations are threatened by their high rate of collisions and the rapid development of power generating and distribution infra structure. He has also worked on the foraging behaviour of African Spoonbills and Ground Hornbills. These hornbills are a flagship species of conservation concern in South Africa.


Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dan van der Horst

Dan van der Horst is an environmental geographer with an interest in natural resource management, focusing especially on the governance of multi-functional land use, ecosystem services and renewable energy systems, and the diverging views, values, knowledge and interests of local communities and outside developers (private sector and/or state). He has undertaken research in Africa on the drivers and patterns of agricultural intensification in the face of climate change. He is a co-investigator on a NERC funded project (2011-2013) called ‘bridging knowledge systems’, which examines the efforts to turn local tree species into cash-crops for biofuel production.