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New appointments to AHRC Council

Date: 27/07/2020

The Board of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed two new members to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Professor Ambreena Manji, Professor of Land Law and Development at Cardiff University.

Professor David Olusoga OBE, historian, broadcaster and BAFTA award-winning presenter and filmmaker

They join AHRC at an important time for the sector, recognising and supporting the role that the arts and humanities play not only in the UK economy but also in the nation’s mental health and well-being.

AHRC’s Council is comprised of individuals from business and the public sector, as well as representatives from the academic community. They work with Executive Chair Professor Andrew Thompson to shape the AHRC’s strategy and to support UKRI's overall mission to maintain the UK’s world-leading position in research and innovation. AHRC Council members also provide Professor Thompson, and UKRI more widely, with input, intelligence and feedback from their communities and stakeholder groups.

Professor Andrew Thompson welcomed the appointments saying: "I’m delighted to welcome these esteemed members to the AHRC Council. Ambreena and David will bring valuable expertise and insights to the Council; and together with our existing members will help ensure the arts and humanities’ contribution to the UK research and innovation landscape, and to addressing the major global challenges.”

The Councils are responsible for advising and making decisions, as delegated to them by the UKRI Board, on scientific, research and innovation matters. These responsibilities include:

  • The leadership of their discipline area or fields of activity, including the prioritisation of budgets within their delegated remits and the development of delivery plans; 
  • Ensuring the future of skilled specialists, researchers, scientists and others essential to the sustainability of the UK’s research and innovation capacity; 
  • Engaging with their community to develop ideas, raise awareness and disseminate strategic outputs; and
  • Encouraging and facilitating collaborative work across the nine UKRI Councils to foster strategic relationships. 


Professor Ambreena Manji is Professor of Land Law and Development at Cardiff University, where she co-founded the Law and Global Justice Centre. Previously seconded to Nairobi as the Director of the British Academy's British Institute in Eastern Africa (2010-2014), her strong links with the African judiciary and legal profession led her to initiate the African Feminist Judgments project which seeks to bring interdisciplinary insights to bear on African jurisprudence at national and regional levels.

Her research is focused on Law and Society in Africa and her most recent book is The Struggle for Land and Justice in Kenya (James Currey/Boydell & Brewer 2020). Other roles include: President, African Studies Association UK (2018-2020); Editor, African Affairs (April 2020-); Member, British Academy International Engagement Committee (September 2020); and Member, Area Studies sub-panel, REF 2021.

Professor David Olusoga OBE is a British-Nigerian historian, broadcaster and BAFTA award-winning presenter and filmmaker. He is Professor of Public History at the University of Manchester and a regular contributor to the Guardian, Observer, New Statesman and BBC History Magazine. His previous books include Black and British, which won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize and the Longman-History Today Trustees Award, The Kaiser’s Holocaust and The World’s War. He was also a contributor to The Oxford Companion to Black British History. In 2019 he was awarded an OBE for services to history and community integration.

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