About Us

What is Nara to Norwich?

Nara to Norwich is an international, collaborative research project that aims to explore the Silk Roads beyond their current limits of the Chinese and post-Roman worlds. Focussing primarily on the interactions between early Buddhism in east Asia and early Christianity around the North Sea, the project explores the microhistories of material culture, landscapes, and literature to weave a narrative concerning the transformation of religions as they journeyed eastwards to Nara in Japan and westwards to Norwich in Britain.

Since its conception in 2016 by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), Nara to Norwich has taken an interdisciplinary approach to tackle an ambitious research topic, conversing with scholars from around the globe to shape the project into a pioneering piece of research. It was due to culminate in an exhibition in September 2021 at the Sainsbury Centre, located on the campus of the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich. However, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused us to postpone these plans to 2024, leading the exhibition to transition to the digital sphere in the meantime, so as to still disseminate its research to a global audience.

To find out more about our past events under the Nara to Norwich research project, explore our Timeline, or contact us.

Meet the Team


Simon Kaner

Executive Director and Head of Centre for Archaeology and Heritage


Susan Whitfield

Professor in Silk Road Studies


Andy Hutcheson

Research Fellow, Centre for Archaeology & Heritage


Ryoko Matsuba

Lecturer in Japanese Digital Arts and Humanities