Image: ‘No Caption [anti-slavery delegation to London?]’, Alice Seeley Harris, 1911-12, courtesy of Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
Archives care for the past, but what is their role in caring for the future? The ‘Archives into the Future’ seminar series, organised by Antislavery Usable Past, provides a forum for creative debate about the issues facing archives today and seeks to explore innovative approaches towards using archives in the future.
On 26 March 2019 at Friends House in London, the final ‘Archives into the Future’ workshop will consider ‘Decolonising the Archive’. The issue of decolonising institutions has received increasing attention, with demands that universities, museums and other institutions challenge frameworks that prioritise Eurocentric perspectives. Continue reading
On the 12 February, join ASUP and Jak Beula (Nubian Jak Heritage Organisation) to honour African American activist Ida B. Wells with a heritage plaque in Birmingham.
Wells was a community activist who fought against the ugly legacies of American slavery, including lynching, racism and segregation. She fought for women’s suffrage, and wrote several books and pamphlets denouncing white domestic terrorism and the murder of innocent black men, women and children in the U.S. She visited Britain in 1893 and 1894 to campaign against lynching to transatlantic audiences.
ASUP has part funded the heritage plaque, which will be unveiled on the afternoon of the 12 February. The Nubian Jak Heritage Organisation has assembled an impressive array of events and talks, including contributions from local school children, the Birmingham Mayor, a representative of the U.S. Embassy, and local community activists.
Dr. Hannah-Rose Murray (ASUP) will also be delivering a lecture on Wells’ travels to Britain on 5 February at MAC Birmingham. The event is free, but please register at http://idabwellsinbritain.eventbrite.co.uk
On Thursday 31st January at BACKLIT Art Gallery, please join The Rights Lab and the Antislavery Usable Past for an immersive and interactive screening of Dr. Shreepali Patel’s The Crossing, complete with bluetooth headphones.
The Crossing explores the story of a young girl who is manipulated through the “lover-boy technique”, and is subsequently trafficked for sex across Europe. Dr. Patel’s aim was to begin the film with the “concept of ‘hope’ and its gradual unfurling reality into an exploitation of trust to perpetuate a $150 billion world trade in her 21 million people, a third of which are children.” Through Dr. Patel’s extensive work with survivors, one described the experience as though the “body [was] separated from the soul.”
After the screening of the film (15 minutes), there will be a discussion with a panel of experts from the Rights Lab, University of Nottingham, home to the world’s leading modern slavery experts.
The event will be held at BACKLIT Art Gallery, housed in a building owned by nineteenth-century abolitionist Samuel Morley. The event is free, but please register- http://thecrossingscreening.eventbrite.co.uk
This event is sponsored by The Rights Lab and the AHRC-Funded Antislavery Usable Past Grant. Based at the University of Nottingham, the RL is the world’s largest and leading group of modern slavery researchers.
Edited by Hannah Jeffery, Rebecca Nelson, and Katarina Schwarz
Foreword by Professors Jean Allain and Kevin Bales
SlaveFree Today and the Journal of Modern Slavery announced at the end of 2018 the publication of a special edition produced in collaboration with the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham and the Antislavery Early Research Association (Antislavery ERA), a network supported by the Rights Lab’s AHRC-funded Antislavery Usable Past grant project.
With the growing visibility of the contemporary antislavery movement on the global stage,and the rising demand for new and revolutionary research about human exploitation, emergent scholarship in the field is becoming increasingly vital.
This Special Issue transcends disciplinary boundaries, fuels collaboration, and brings the evolving research of early career scholars to light. Featuring the work of nineteen academics in nine papers, it incorporates fields of scholarship such as Law, American Studies, History, Geography, Social Science, and Business and gives voice to a new wave of antislavery research that connects past, present, and future. It highlights the important role of research networks at all levels of scholarship.
It covers a wide range of topics, including contemporary slavery through an historic lens; the prohibition of labor exploitation in Italy, Spain, and the UK; strategic litigation to combat modern slavery; immigration status decisions of post-NRM victims of human trafficking; the availability of eligible benefits and impact on victims of trafficking; procedural justice, victimcentricity, and the right to remedy for survivors; antislavery methods of visual protest from 1845 to Black Power; the first survey of children’s literature on modern slavery; analysing slavery through satellite technology; and collaborating to identify, recover and support victims of modern slavery.
This Special Issue centers survivor voices, not only in content, but by engaging a
survivor-scholar in the reviewing process of each article; the first ever journal issue to do so.
Today (3rd December 2018) marks the launch of our newest digital project. ‘Legacies on Display: Slavery in Museums’ is a showcase of museums around the world that engage with and interpret slavery in their permanent displays. The first of its kind, the collection brings these institutions together using an interactive map.
Museums are exciting places to see the ‘usable past’ in action. They bring together objects, people and places, and prompt discussions unable to be had elsewhere in our communities. The aims of the ‘Legacies on Display’ collection were to create a resource for researchers, and the general public, that physically locates museums that permanently interpret slavery in their displays and exhibitions, as well as to raise the profile of the museums themselves. It also provides a wider insight into how museums in different places engage with the subject of slavery- what objects do they have? What are the key themes that they identify? Who’s voices feature in the display? The collection also provides an opportunity to reflect on the role of the twenty-first-century museum; specifically in how museums address challenging histories and their legacies in the contemporary world.
Each museum is listed with a description about the organisation and its displays, including its collections and narratives. These were researched using a combination of site visits and desk-based analysis. Key findings from the collection show a geographic spread of ‘slavery museums’ across six continents, and include a range of institutions; from renovated slave forts in West Africa, former plantations in America and purpose-built national institutions in the Caribbean, to port city museums in the UK. There are different forms of slavery covered, across five hundred years of history to the present day. There is a significant number of museums around the Atlantic world (Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas) that focus on transatlantic slavery and its legacies. Another notable finding is the disparity of resources amongst museums, particularly between those in lesser economically developed countries and those not, specifically in terms of their online presence.
Highlights from the collection include:
- Wilberforce House Museum, Hull, UK– The world’s oldest slavery museum and home of Britain’s most famous abolitionist, William Wilberforce.
- The National Museum of African American History, Washington D.C, USA- Described by its director Dr Lonnie Bunch as ‘a museum for all Americans,’ the museum firmly embeds the history of slavery with the development of the USA as a nation.
- Bin Jelmood House, Doha, Qatar- The only museum in the Arab world that addresses slavery, with a particular focus on the enslavement of people across the Middle East.
- House of Slaves, Gorée Island, Senegal- A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the renovated former slave fort features the poignant ‘door of no return’ through which enslaved Africans were forced onto ships bound for the Americas or the Caribbean.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site, Ontario, Canada- The museum is located on the site where the Rev. Josiah Henson set up a settlement for the many fugitives from slavery in the USA who fled to Canada. Harriet Beecher Stowe based her protagonist, Uncle Tom, on Henson.
The collection is fully searchable via the interactive map, or key words such as the name of the museum or the country in which it is located. Each museum is also tagged with key themes that can be searched, in addition to any organisations it may be involved in, such as the Federation of International Human Rights Museums, or the International Coalition for Sites of Conscience.
To browse the collection in full visit: www.antislavery.ac.uk/legaciesondisplayslaveryinmuseums.
If you have any queries, comments or suggestions for additional museums contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, 3 December 2018 from 16:30-18:00
Wilberforce Institute, 27 High Street, HU1 1NE Kingston upon Hull
An event is being held at the Wiberforce Institute in Hull to launch two of our digital projects.
‘Remembering 1807’, put together by Dr Mary Wills, is an online archive that brings together materials from commemoration events that took place during 2007, the year of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade.
‘Legacies on Display: Slavery in Museums’ has been built by one of our PhD students, Rebecca Nelson. This collection showcases museums around the world that engage with and interpret the subject of slavery.
For further information please contact Rebecca Nelson
Antislavery Usable Past has collaborated with Museum of London Docklands to curate the latest display in the London, Sugar & Slavery gallery that highlights the connection to slavery of some of Britain’s oldest cultural organisations. Slavery, culture & collecting follows slave owner and art collector George Hibbert, a prominent member of a large subsection of British society which derived its wealth directly from the slave economy. These figures were often active philanthropists, and are commemorated in memorials for their associations with charitable causes, while their connections to slavery are invisible even today.
Hibbert was instrumental in building the West India Docks which now house the Museum of London Docklands. This connection positions the museum as an important place to think about the relationship between slavery and cultural heritage.
The wealth generated by slavery was used to create cultural institutions such as museums, universities, art galleries and charities. Advocates of slavery would then use culture in their arguments for the continuing use of enslaved labour, on the grounds that Africans needed the “civilising influence” of Europe.
The display contains a short film featuring Dr Katie Donington. Further information can be found on the museum website Slavery, culture and collecting, Museum of London
The Antislavery Early Research Association is running the following event:
Scholarship with Survivors Workshop – A Day of Conversation between Early Career Researchers and Survivors
University of Nottingham, UK
Saturday 20 October 2018
The Scholarship with Survivors Workshop aims to provide a platform for open dialogue between early career researchers and survivors of contemporary forms of slavery. Throughout the day, we will consider what diverse areas of research have to offer to survivors, how survivors’ perspectives can (and should) influence research, and the ways in which scholars and survivors can work together to produce and develop knowledge. By creating an informal environment in which knowledge is exchanged freely and equally, we seek to create an approach that abolishes the barrier between institution academia and survivor communities. The workshop will feature a presentation, panel session and Q&A with survivors, as well as thematic, round table discussions of selected focus areas, providing an opportunity for researchers to engage with survivors and one another.
A call for participants in any field or discipline researching issues relating to slavery, antislavery, and human trafficking – both modern and historic has been issued. For further information please see the full call document – Scholarship with Survivors Workshop Call for Participants
The organisers are also reaching out to survivors of slavery and human trafficking to join us in Nottingham, to participate in the workshop and become part of a growing network of early career researchers working in the area. You are welcome to attend as a general participant or as a presenter on the survivor panel. As a participant, you will not be required to tell everyone that you are a survivor of slavery. If you are interested please see here for further information – Call for Survivor Participants – 2018
The Antislavery Usable Past is delighted to welcome Shamere McKenzie, CEO Sun Gate Foundation, as an Advisory Board Member to the project.
Shamere is herself a survivor of modern slavery and now uses her past adversity to raise awareness of human trafficking by speaking at various universities, conferences, community events and with government officials around the world. She partners with organisations by empowering survivors and youth within their programs, trains various professionals on how to identify and respond to human trafficking and have written and emergency shelter program for adult survivors of human trafficking. Her story has been featured in several books including a college text book focused on social justice. In addition, her story has been featured on various television and radio programs, in magazines and newspapers, on several blogs and she has received numerous awards for her work.
The Sun Gate Foundation is an anti-trafficking organisation that provides educational opportunities for survivors of human trafficking. It is Shamere’s desire that the Sun Gate Foundation will empower survivors to pick up their broken pieces and go confidently after their dreams.