News and Events

Mural collection launched on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (2 December)

Using street art to help fight modern slavery

The University of Nottingham is launching the first ever major collection of murals focussing on slavery and the anti-slavery movement on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (2 December).

Murals are a common tool in the fight against slavery, but their ephemeral nature means that that have a limited lifespan. The Antislavery Usable Past project has created the first large-scale collection of antislavery murals. It brings together both interior and exterior murals from the 1920s through to present day.

By evaluating how different groups have used murals about the antislavery past for protest and community activism, the archive aims to encourage contemporary antislavery activists to use this form of community artwork to raise awareness and build city-wide “slavery-free community” campaigns.

Created by researcher Hannah Jeffery, the archive currently features murals of historical American abolitionist leaders such as Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Denmark Vesey and Nathaniel Turner. It also includes murals that use the visual iconography of slavery and antislavery. Going forward it will expand to include murals about historical antislavery from the UK and around the world, and also begin to feature new murals that focus on the contemporary movement against slavery and human trafficking.

“In creating this archive, I wanted to establish a sense of permanence for these murals to ensure they remain visible in the historical protest narrative, even if erased from their physical location. Two of the main purposes of the archive are to show how these artworks have long been protest tools to tell forgotten antislavery stories for the purpose of galvanizing community activism, and also to highlight lessons we can learn and apply to murals today that raise awareness of contemporary slavery and human trafficking.” Hannah Jeffery, PhD student, Antislavery Usable Past

To find out more about the archive visit antislavery.ac.uk/murals

Launch event for Remembering 1807 digital archive

pjimage (9)Please join us to launch Remembering 1807, a new digital archive of commemorative activity relating to the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition. This free event will take place at the Museum of London Docklands on 20 September, 6.30 – 8 pm.

Please register for the launch to hear more about this new resource, a collection of the Antislavery Usable Past Archive.

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Stay Safe from Slavery Conference

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Unchosen are delighted to announce an innovative conference called Stay Safe from Slavery, focusing on new ways of preventing Modern Slavery in the UK. The conference takes place at the University of Nottingham on 21 June 2017. The university’s Research Priority Area in Rights and Justice and Antislavery Usable Past project is partnering on the conference, in conjunction with work to make Nottingham a slavery-free city.

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Empires of Charity Workshop

Mary Wills will be presenting at the University of Warwick’s Poverty Research Network workshop on 3 March 2017. The Poverty Research Network brings together scholars from different disciplines, working on broad themes of poverty and social justice from the local to the global level. The ‘Empires of Charity‘ workshop looks to explore the relationship between systems of charity and imperialism broadly defined within a global framework. Mary will be speaking on the British anti-slavery cause in nineteenth-century West Africa, and how abolitionism became intertwined with concepts of imperialism, philanthropy and humanitarianism.

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Seminar at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, Liverpool

Three members of the Antislavery Usable Past team – Katie Donington, Rebecca Nelson and Mary Wills – will speak about the project and their own research at a seminar organised by the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool on 7 February, 5pm-7pm. Mary Wills will be speaking on ‘Commemorating slavery and abolition in the UK: heritage, memory and activism’, Rebecca Nelson on ‘The Many Faces of the Modern Museum’ and Katie Donington on ‘Red rubber in sepia: slavery, memory and representation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’.

Admission is free. Details of how to register, and more info, can be found on the Centre for the Study of International Slavery website.

Historians Against Slavery Conference 2017

In October 2017, Historians Against Slavery will hold its biennial conference outside of the United States for the first time, at the International Slavery Museum (ISM) in Liverpool. The two-day conference – ‘Using History to Make Slavery History’ – will mark the 10th Anniversary of the ISM as well as Black History Month 2017. It is co-hosted by Historians Against Slavery, the ISM, the Centre for the Study of International Slavery (University of Liverpool) and the Antislavery Usable Past project.

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