Shamil Jeppie is the director of the project. He received his PhD from Princeton University and is currently Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town. He has worked on aspects of the social history of Cape Town and Durban, South Africa as well as 19th-century Sudan. He founded this research project wherein he is exploring the formation of a culture of collecting in Timbuktu. He was also the director of the Institute of Humanities in Africa (HUMA) and a member of the Scientific Committee of CODESRIA. He serves on various platforms concerned with the development of the humanities, history and heritage in Africa and the global South.