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
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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.
By Katarina Schwarz, Queens University Belfast
Professor Jean Allain hosted a two-day event on 29 and 30 June 2016, From the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Engaging the Maangamizi, in collaboration with David Archard, leader of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Care for the Future Exploratory Award entitled ‘Generating Justice: The social, legal, political and ethical issues of ensuring justice across generations’.
by Katarina Schwarz, PhD candidate, Queens University Belfast
Universities have always revered history as a source of knowledge for the future; a grand narrative of lessons to be taken into the present to enrich our understanding of our origins, make better decisions in the present, and continue progress for the future. It is therefore no surprise that people care enough about the way that history is treated in these institutions to spark broad debates, controversy, and an international movement. From South Africa, to the United Kingdom, to the United States, students (as well as members of staff) are rallying for a radical adjustment in the way that people interact with the “glorious” history of their institutions. Whether or not it is true that Rhodes Must Fall, a conversation about his proposed demise is now unavoidable.