Claude studied anthropology and history at the State University of Leningrad, USSR (MA and PhD).
His current research/projects explore the history of gold and textiles in west Africa and the related history of exchanges with north Africa, Europe and within west Africa itself. More broadly his interests are in the complex inter-relations between exchanges and cultural history in west Africa as reflected in material culture, the arts and intangible culture.
He has recently begun a fieldwork-based project on gold, silver and brass in the history of west Africa. He is also responsible for coordinating the British Museum programme of partnerships with museums in Africa for in the department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. This involves collaborative projects and exchanges of skills and resources with museums and heritage institutions in several countries on the African continent.
His interests build upon past work in Mali, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana. The outcome of this was various publications, exhibitions and museum programmes.
Dr. Ardouin's work on African heritage preservation and promotion includes major museum programmes in west Africa. He started the new National Museum of Mali in 1982, was Executive Director and a founding member of the West African Museums Programme (Senegal) with activities in sixteen countries in west Africa. He managed several museum development programmes including the rehabilitation of the photographic archive of the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire in Dakar. He developed the Master Plan for a new National Museum in Burkina Faso (with the European Commission), planned the development of the National Council of Arts and Culture in The Gambia (with the World Bank) and coordinated the National Museums of Kenya Support Programme (with the European Commission). He is a founding member of the International Council of African Museums (AFRICOM).
Most recent publications
C. Ardouin, E. Arinze (ed), Museums and History in West Africa (Smithsonians/James Currey, London, 2000)
C. Ardouin (ed.) Museums and Archaeology in West Africa (Smithsonians/James Currey, London, 1997)
C. Ardouin,'Culture, Museums, and Development in Africa', in P. Altbach, S. M. Hassan (ed.) The Muse of Modernity : Essays on Culture and Development in Africa (Africa World Press, Inc., Trenton, 1996)
C. Ardouin,'Vers un trafic licite des biens culturels? Quelques réflexions et suggestions à partir d'une perspective anthropologique', in International Journal of Cultural Property, 1, Vol. 4 (Walter de Gruyter, Berlin-New York, 1995)
C. Ardouin, Arinze, E. (ed.) Museums and the Community. Materials of the Seminar on Local Museums (James Currey, London, 1995)