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Boosting social recovery in Sierra Leone

2002 marked the end of Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war in which tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives, and a quarter of the population were displaced.

A project led by University College London explored how Sierra Leone could boost social recovery using heritage and culture. The project focused on visual arts, digital technologies and contemporary museum practices as instruments to rebuild peace and approach social reconciliation.

Working with the Sierra Leone National Museum, the researchers provided a programme of training and capacity building in practices for museum staff, the Monuments and Relics Commission and the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

A senior curator working at the SLNM said: “The activities strengthened the professional capacity of museum staff by adapting international standards and best practice in the context of our own work”.

Through the programme, over 4000 cultural objects, images and sound recordings were added to an innovative digital heritage information asset, and educational resources were created for schools and international audiences.

The project continues to be used to advise government in Sierra Leone and since 2015, researchers from the UK have been working with the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs to review Sierra Leone’s 1962 Monuments and Relics Act.

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