The University of Birmingham hosted the 27th biennial conference of the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).

A busy opening morning for the conference.

This is the largest conference on Africa outside of the United States this year, and with over 800 delegates it offered an extraordinarily rich and varied programme that affirms the University’s global standing and its long and proud commitment to African Studies and Africa.

The conference was opened by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir David Eastwood, on Tuesday 11 September 2018. Following this, Kenyan and South African scholar Professor Grace Musila from the University of the Witwatersrand gave the keynote address. The author of ‘A Death Retold in Truth and Rumour - Kenya, Britain and the Julie Ward Murder’, Professor Musila is one of Africa’s leading critical thinkers about flows of knowledge between Africa and Europe.

In addition to the academic programme, the conference also offered networking opportunities for delegates, including a book fair in the Great Hall, a conference barbeque with music from the world renowned Nigerian percussionist and joint Grammy-award winner Lekan Babalola and his Sacred Funk Project, and a conference dinner, where the ASA UK celebrated outstanding scholarship and contributions to the study of Africa by awarding several prizes, including:

  • The Audrey Richards Prize for best doctoral thesis in African Studies successfully examined in a British institution of higher education during 2016-2017;  
  • The Fage and Oliver monograph prize for best scholarly monograph on Africa published (or translated into English) and distributed in the United Kingdom during 2016-2017; and
  • The Distinguished Africanist Award for an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the field of African Studies in the UK.