As a mature student Sarah studied for her BA in Art History, Archaeology and Anthropology and a Masters in Advanced Studies in the Arts of Africa, Americas and Oceania in Norwich at the University of East Anglia. Her doctorate considering the production and consumption of elaborate dress in Nigerian Hausa society, ‘Robes of Honour: Hausa Textiles in the Liverpool Museum’ was completed at UEA in 2005.
In 2006 Sarah was appointed Assistant Curator for Africa in the Department of World Cultures and in 2008 Sarah became the first Curator of African collections at National Museums Scotland. Since her appointment Sarah has continued research into the Hausa textile collections at National Museums Scotland, contributing to a publication ‘The Emergence of Hausa Identity: History and Religion’ in 2010.
Textiles, clothing and dress remain a primary focus, and the collections inspire research of historic material and also contemporary forms of dress. Through donations and curatorial fieldwork the contemporary textiles of east and central southern Africa are a focus for development, ensuring that the range of cloth in this area of Africa is well represented in our collections.
Sarah is interested in developing curatorial partnerships and networks in Africa. Since 2009 an international partnerships collaboration with Museums of Malawi at Chichiri Museum, Blantyre has engaged museum staff in the exchange of ideas, collections knowledge and museum skills. In 2013, following her role as curator of the David Livingstone bicentenary exhibition at National Museum fo Scotland she has worked in an advisory role developing a Livingstone display at Chichiri Museum. It is hoped that future project plans may bring both interest strands together again as a project researching contemporary textiles in Malawi is explored.
For further publications see: National Museums Scotland Research Repository.