Reporter 398, 3 March 1997

Colour chemists learn from a dyeing art

Leeds colour chemists are helping Nigerians refine techniques of the thousand-year-old practice of tie dyeing, where fabric is soaked in natural dyes in holes in the ground for up to seven days.

A number of other projects funded by the British Council - are being carried out in partnership with Nigeria's Bayero University Kano.

The link is a two-way learning process, with the emphasis on analysis and environmental issues, especially in relation to colorants and polymers - and on making use of the country's natural resources.

The link has been in place for a year, and regional government agencies, concerned to prevent and clean up pollution, have shown great interest in the environmental chemistry modules the Colour Chemistry group is helping to set up.

Nigeria has had a turbulent recent past, with the higher education sector suffering much hardship - the country's problem is not that it is poor but that it has lacked any long-term stability which has hindered growth and development.

The university's Vice-Chancellor is eager to extend the link with Leeds to other areas, such as the study of tropical diseases.

Dr Kelvin Tapley would like to hear from anyone who feels their department could benefit from such a link. Contact him on ext. 6732 or

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