The Sainsbury Research Unit for the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas (SRU), is a centre for the study of the arts and material culture of these three regions, with six permanent academic faculty supported by library and administrative staff. Visiting fellows, research associates and postdoctoral researchers working on special projects also contribute to the lively academic community within the unit. The unit has its own teaching and study facilities and a specialist research library known as the Robert Sainsbury Library, all on hand within the Sainsbury Centre.
The SRU offers MA and PhD degrees, with generous scholarships and funding support for students. It also offers visiting fellowships for postdoctoral scholars and hosts regular conferences, symposia and other academic meetings. Combining anthropological, art-historical, archaeological and museological approaches, SRU research and teaching are focused on the distinctive cultures of the three regions, especially how artworks and objects are made, used, and circulated – in effect, how they matter to people, both in their original contexts and in the contexts of museums and exhibitions. The MA and PhD programmes are intended for those interested in careers in higher education, museums and galleries, publishing, journalism and development.