SCOLMA AGM 2016 – Minutes


(the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa)

Minutes of the 54th Annual General Meeting held in the Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge on Tuesday 6th September 2016 during the annual conference, ‘African Medicine Matters: documenting encounters in medical practice and healthcare’.


Present: Terry Barringer, Laurence Byrne, Dan Gilfoyle, Pat Hewitt, Lucy McCann, Alison Metcalfe, Sarah Rhodes, Catherine Robertson, Jenni Skinner, Marion Wallace, Dawn Wright.

Apologies were received from Marilyn Glanfield, Stephanie Kitchen, John McIlwaine, John Pinfold, Ranka Primorac, Barbara Spina,


Minutes of last meeting

The minutes of the 53rd Annual General Meeting were approved as a true and complete record.

  1. Report of the Chair

Lucy McCann presented her report as Chair. She commented on the success of the 2015 Annual Conference (“There came a darkness”: Africa, Africans and World War I) held at the British Library and the forthcoming issue of ARD based upon it. She thanked the Alison Richard Building and the African Studies Centre, Cambridge for hosting the 2016 Conference, Taylor & Francis and Adam Matthew for their support, and the speakers for the wide range of subjects covered.

ARD is now being published in two issues per year but with no reduction in overall content. Special thanks were due to former printers Doppler who retired over the past year for their many years of high quality work and efficiency. The Printing Place has taken over printing, producing number 126 as its first issue. The SCOLMA book, African Studies in the Digital Age, launched at the ASAUK Conference at Brighton, is still available for purchase. SCOLMA has continued its usual activities, including regular involvement with ELIAS and ASAUK, holding seminars and maintaining its website. Committee members were thanked for their contributions and enthusiasm, especially John Pinfold and Christine Anderson, who retired from the committee.  Ian Cooke was also thanked for transitional support over the past year.

The full report is attached below.

  1. Financial statement and approval of audited accounts

Alison Metcalfe presented the audited accounts for 2015. She noted that, although most of SCOLMA’s income came through ARD, the annual conference had made an increasing contribution.  As a result of lower expenditure due to lower printing costs with the change in the ARD publications schedule and slightly increased income from the conference, sponsorship and subscriptions, the surplus was higher than in 2014.

The approval of the accounts was proposed by Marion Wallace, seconded by Dawn Wright and passed unanimously. Peter Westley was reappointed as auditor, proposed Lucy McCann, seconded by Terry Barringer and agreed unanimously.

  1. Appointment of Officers and Committee

The following nominations were put forward:


Chair – Lucy McCann, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Secretary – Sarah Rhodes, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Treasurer – Alison Metcalfe, National Library of Scotland

Editor – Terry Barringer (individual member)

Development officer – Catherine Robertson, University of Birmingham Library

Web manager – Marilyn Glanfield (individual member)

Programme secretary – Dan Gilfoyle, The National Archives


Laurence Byrne, Senate House Library

Pat Hewitt, Robert Sainsbury Library, University of East Anglia

Barbara Spina (individual member) (elected 2015)

Marion Wallace, The British Library (elected 2014)

Dawn Wright, SOAS Library (elected 2014)

These were elected nem con

ASAUK reps: Ranka Primorac, University of Southampton, Stephanie Kitchen, International African Institute and Toby Green, Kings College London (for Cambridge meetings).

  1. Nomination of John Pinfold as an honorary member of SCOLMA

SCOLMA was very sorry to lose John Pinfold from the committee this year. He was one of our longest-serving members having joined SCOLMA in the early 1980s and had undertaken a number of roles including Treasurer, Chair and formerly deputy editor of ARD during this time.  His wisdom and company will be greatly missed. In recognition of his long standing commitment to SCOLMA Lucy McCann nominated him to become an honorary member. Marion Wallace seconded the motion and it was agreed unanimously.

  1. Any other business

No other business was reported.

Secretary: Sarah Rhodes (  (15.09.16)


Chair’s Report

2015 conference

Last year’s conference had the theme ‘”There came a darkness”: Africa, Africans and World War I’ and was held at the British Library. We were grateful for the support of the British Library, Taylor & Francis and Adam Matthew. Our keynote speaker was Edward Paice of the Africa Research Institute and author of Tip and Run: the untold tragedy of the Great War in Africa, who gave a fascinating presentation on some little known sources for studying the war in Africa. Other speakers addressed the experience of African soldiers both in Africa and on the Western Front, the war in South West Africa, information in missionary journals and war diaries, images of the war in Africa and the aftermath of the war, considering memorials and the outbreak of racism. Papers are being published in African Research and Documentation.

2016 conference

This year’s theme is ‘African Medicine Matters: documenting encounters in medical practice and health care’. We are most grateful to the Alison Richard Building and African Studies Centre, Cambridge, Taylor & Francis and Adam Matthew for their support and to our speakers for the wide range of subjects being covered.

African Research and Documentation

Our printers, Doppler, who have ever reliably produced ARD for over thirty years, retired during the last year. We are most grateful for their high quality work and efficiency. We have moved to The Printing Place as our printers who produced number 126 as their first issue.

The editor regrets that publication of ARD is still behind schedule. Issues 127 (a special issue with an important study of Book Donation Programmes in Africa by Hans Zell and Raphael Thierry) and 128 (with articles from the 2015 Conference) are almost ready.

African Studies in the Digital Age: DisConnects?

We still have some copies of SCOLMA’s book of selected papers from the 2012 50th anniversary conference about African Studies in the digital age which was published by Brill in September 2014. Copies are available from SCOLMA at the special price of £15. The  book’s details are:

Terry Barringer and Marion Wallace, with Jos Damen, Lucy McCann, John McIlwaine, John Pinfold and Sarah Rhodes (eds), African Studies in the Digital Age: DisConnects? (Leiden: Brill, 2014).

Committee meetings and seminars

SCOLMA held three committee meetings this year, on 26 October 2015 (Senate House Library), 9 March 2016 (The British Library) and 13 June 20165 (SOAS). In January Marion Wallace gave a guided tour of the ‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’ exhibition at the British Library which she had curated and we held a seminar in June when Vanessa Platt of University College London discussed her work on the Ken Saro-Wiwa Digital archive.


SCOLMA is responsible for the content of the UK and European Libraries Directory on the Africa Desk (, which has replaced the hard copy directories published in the past. We would like to increase the number of libraries listed (currently 26) and will endeavour to make progress with this during the coming year.

Web presence

We continue to maintain our website and to tweet regularly, using a rota of SCOLMA committee members to keep the information up to date. We now have 320 followers on Twitter, an increase from 254 a year ago.

European Librarians in African Studies (ELIAS)

Dawn Wright attended the Tenth Annual Meeting of ELIAS at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), Tervuren on 17th June this year, a gathering of 18 librarians from seven countries. The morning session included seven speakers on topics including individual library collections on Africa, open access publishing, digitisation and library strategies for African Studies. The afternoon session involved a tour of the Department of Geology at the RMCA (archives, maps and scientific collections) and a tour of the RMCA’s Central Library. This was followed by country presentations/news items from the participants.

We are grateful to Dawn for continuing to represent SCOLMA on the ELIAS Working Group.

African Studies Association (UK)

We continue to value our close connections with ASAUK and a number of us will be attending the ASAUK biennial conference which begins tomorrow here in Cambridge. I reported on SCOLMA’s activities at the ASAUK AGM held in London last year and attended the ASAUK Council meetings in December and May. We are grateful for the input of Ranka Primorac and Stephanie Kitchen as ASAUK representatives at our committee meetings in London and Oxford respectively.

Thank you

SCOLMA is only able to carry out its activities due to the efforts of many people. We have been very sorry to lose John Pinfold from the committee this year, one of our longest-serving members. John joined SCOLMA in the early 1980s while working at the LSE Library. He served as Treasurer from 1988 to 1991 and then, after becoming Rhodes House Librarian, as Chair from 1993 to 1999. Since 2005 he has been an excellent and ever reliable deputy editor of African Research and Documentation. John was instrumental in the organisation of SCOLMA’s 40th and 50th anniversary conferences, both held in Oxford, and has regularly contributed wide-ranging papers to conferences and articles to ARD and provided sound advice at committee meetings. His wisdom and company will be greatly missed.

We have also been sorry to lose Christine Anderson from the committee after her retirement from Senate House Library earlier this year. The role of Commonwealth Studies Librarian was one of several which Christine filled but she was ever supportive of SCOLMA’s activities and we are most grateful for her contribution over several years.

Although Ian Cooke stepped down from the committee last year, having served as Treasurer and on the ARD team for many years, he has been invariably helpful with transitional arrangements during the past twelve months.

I would like to thank the editor of African Research and Documentation, Terry Barringer, and Barbara Spina, Alison Metcalfe and Sarah Rhodes who have assisted with editorial work this year; Alison Metcalfe our Treasurer; Terry Barringer also in her role as Secretary and Dawn Wright, our Minutes Secretary; our Web Manager, Marilyn Glanfield; our Seminar Secretary, Dan Gilfoyle; our ELIAS representative, Dawn Wright; our Directory Manager, Sarah Rhodes; and our Development Officer, Catherine Robertson. Terry Barringer has been the local organizer for today’s conference with assistance from Alison Metcalfe and Sarah Rhodes and we are grateful for their efforts to make today a success.


Lucy McCann, Chair






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