Kenya is one of the countries for which the British Empire & Commonwealth Collections hold a large amount of material. The photographs document the building of the East African railways, the role of Kenyan soldiers in the First World War, the lives of local communities in Kenya, and the wave of new buildings in Nairobi in the run-up to independence.

Archivists have been working on the collections since 2015, and part of our mission is to share them with Kenyan citizens and those with Kenyan heritage who wish to learn more about their country’s history. The Building Shared Futures project is a collaboration between academics and heritage institutions in the UK and Kenya to make this rich visual heritage available to new generations through digital platforms and social media.

We celebrated the completion of phase one of Building Shared Futures with this exhibition, Changing Perspectives. We commissioned Kenyan photographer Chao Tayiana to revisit some of the sites depicted in historic photographs, most of them from the Charles Trotter collection. The exhibition was on display in late 2019 in both Nairobi and Bristol.