Commentaries

Nottingham Stands Against Slavery: Help make Nottingham a slavery free city

This event took place on 20th June 2017 at the University of Nottingham and was well attended with around 40 people including local activists, frontline social workers and faith leaders at the event to hear from the expert panel and discuss three of Unchosen’s short films. The level and quality of debate was very high, with detailed questions and analysis from both the audience and panel members. Continue reading

Red rubber in sepia: Slavery, memory and representation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By Katie Donington

As part of the Antislavery Usable Past project I am digitising a collection of 509 photographs produced by a British missionary Alice Seeley Harris. The images have achieved an iconic status in the representation of the human suffering that occurred in the Congo Free State when it was under the control of King Leopold II at the turn of the nineteenth century. Continue reading

Remembering 1807, Archiving 2007

By Dr Mary Wills

At the Wilberforce Institute we are in the final stages of collecting materials for ‘Remembering 1807’, a digital archive of materials from UK projects which in 2007 commemorated the bicentenary of the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade. The archive will go live this September, and will be one of the major resources in the Antislavery Usable Past’s online portal, providing primary source materials to be used in future antislavery scholarship, teaching and learning.

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The Iron in the Ivory Towers: Dealing with Georgetown’s legacies of enslavement

This post by Katarina Schwarz also features on the blog of the Re-presenting slavery: making a public usable past project.

Many universities and colleges benefitted from human enslavement and exploitation, and Georgetown University, Washington was no exception. What is exceptional about Georgetown’s case is how well documented those connections are, and now the nature of the attempt to reckon with them.

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A New Curriculum for Hull – Usable Past in Action

By Rebecca Nelson, Wilberforce Institute

Since September I’ve been working as an intern with Hull’s Heritage Learning team. They are responsible for the educational offers across the museum sites in Hull, working with schools from the local area and beyond. For 2017, coinciding with the City of Culture programme, Heritage Learning are launching a new history curriculum for schools in the Hull area. This explores the history of Hull from its origins in the medieval period, to the modern day, through key events and characters. Teachers were consulted about the topics they wanted to see on the curriculum, with an original list of over 150 being whittled down to just 20.

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A valuable experience at the International Slavery Museum

By Rebecca Nelson, Wilberforce Institute

Alongside being part of the Antislavery Usable Past project, my PhD experience also includes academic training with the Heritage Consortium. This comprises a group of Northern universities, committed to enhancing applicable heritage skills among students with related research interests. This has worked very well with my interest in museums and their engagement with and interpretation of antislavery across Britain. Part of the assessment for this training was a placement, which I wanted to do somewhere that had real relevance for my research – what better place than Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum (ISM)?

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Knowing the Chains: Corporate Reporting under the Modern Slavery Act

By Katarina Schwarz, PhD candidate, Queens University Belfast

The products that we buy and use today have almost always passed through many hands before they reach us. A complex sequence processes are involved in the production and distribution of goods, increasingly pulling materials across many different borders in order to create the goods we enjoy. Just how complicated these supply chains have become can make the origins of products murky, if not impossible to determine. Increasingly, however, lights are being shone on the links of this chain to highlight the abuses which can occur throughout the process.

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Measuring Slavery and our “Ending Slavery” Open Online Course

By Professor Kevin Bales, University of Nottingham

How many people around the world do you think are victims of slavery today? Modern slavery is a hidden crime that is especially hard to measure. That’s why a group of researchers came together to develop the Global Slavery Index, which measures slavery as accurately as possible. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates there are 45.8m people worldwide in slavery today. That is more than the entire population of Canada, Poland, Uganda or Malaysia.

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‘Unspeakable Things Unspoken:’ Transatlantic Slavery – A Public Conversation (12-13 October 2016, Nottingham Contemporary)

 

By Dr Katie Donnington, University of Nottingham

The bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007 opened up a space to consider the place of slavery in the narrative of British history. The commemorations, dubbed by some as ‘Wilberfest’, were not without controversy with some historians and community activists critical of the focus on a self-congratulatory narrative of abolition.

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