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Hi there, I’m Chao Tayiana also Headstrong Historian. I’m a Kenyan digital heritage specialist and digital humanities scholar. With a background in computer science and a life-long passion for history, my work primarily focuses on the application of technology in the preservation, engagement and dissemination of African heritage and culture. 

I am the founder of African Digital Heritage an organisation which seeks to research, strengthen and develop the technical capacity of African cultural institutions and sectors. I am also a co-founder at the Museum of British Colonialism where I lead digital engagement and documentation. Between 2017 – 2019, I  worked as a New Media Developer for the Science Museum Group, designing interactive programs to increase visitor engagement and interpretation within museum galleries.  

Projects and Initiatives

With 5+ years experience running  a series of self-initiated, passion projects, collaborative projects and institution based programs, my work in Kenya and the UK offers unique insight into the challenges and opportunities faced when implementing digital technology in cultural industries of varying expertise and resource levels. 

Between 2013 and 2016 I run and founded the Save The Railway  project in Kenya – a nationwide campaign to photograph and digitally archive more than 70 abandoned/dilapidated railway stations and the stories behind them.  In May 2018 I was awarded the Endangered Archives grant to restore and catalogue the Railway Museum Archive in Nairobi. While in September 2018 I was  selected as a consultant on the Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth project to research and deliver training on digital skills needed within the cultural industry in Kenya.

I strongly believe in cultural participation as a way of opening up engagement between audiences and cultural institutions and in 2019 I created the Skills4Culture program to help address some of the gaps in digital skills within the Kenyan cultural heritage sector. This included designing training programs that explored issues around audience engagement, digitization, audience participation and more.

Education and Awards

I hold an Msc International Heritage Visualisation (2016 -2017)  from the University of Glasgow/Glasgow School of Art where I graduated with a distinction. My research work explored the possibilities of embedding intangible histories in 3D digital environments. And a Bsc in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (2015). I am  a recipient of the Google Anita Borg scholarship for women in technology (2016) and a recipient of the Governors International postgraduate scholarship (Glasgow School of Art) (2016).


As an African woman, I am extremely and unashamedly passionate about African culture and history. I strongly feel that technology has created new ways for us to express, explore and engage with our cultural pasts and presents. Opening avenues to create new narratives and challenge colonial stereotypes about who we were and who we are.

Sometimes I go by the name Headstrong Historian which is taken from  a short story I read when I was 18. One that largely inspired me to set out in search of my own past and identity when I had a strong conviction to do so but very little direction on where to start…In many ways I’m extremely glad and fortunate to have chosen this path and to be working in this space today. 🙂

Thank you for dropping by, like to talk more? Email me at:, I’d love to hear from you.