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.

The 2014 Modern Slavery Strategy highlighted prevention as vital to the fight against slavery in the UK, and aimed to “protect vulnerable people by raising awareness and stopping them from becoming victims.” However, preventative programmes are today few and far between – understandably, the focus is very much on finding and protecting victims. Unchosen’s Stay Safe from Slavery conference asks – how can we protect the vulnerable? How can we stop those who are homeless, refugees, migrants or children in care from falling victim to exploitation? What are the new approaches in this field?

This conference invites a wide audience to challenge the status quo and look at innovative ways of approaching the prevention of slavery. The conference will appeal to the anti-slavery sector, frontline workers who work with vulnerable groups, as well as homeless charities, refugee and migrant groups, those working with children in care and care leavers – and the growing number of academics working on Modern Slavery.

Speakers include representatives from GLAA, Border Force, University of Nottingham, ECPAT, Homeless and refugee charities.

The conference coincides with a new project called Stay Safe from Slavery that Unchosen is currently developing.

Book now – for early bird tickets at £55 per person before 31 March, £75 after.

Any questions, please email

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.

Connecting past with present, we will deepen dialogue and collaboration between scholars, teachers, activists and community representatives, and build coalitions for antislavery scholarship and activism. Our panels, workshops and plenary sessions will bring together a distinguished body of leading scholars, museum professionals and antislavery activists from around the world, reflecting on cutting-edge scholarship and debating practical examples of how history can inform contemporary efforts to end the enslavement of 46 million people worldwide.

Registration for the conference is free and includes lunch on both days. Conference attendees are responsible for transportation, lodging and evening meals. We will announce speakers in March 2017.

Historians Against Slavery is a community of scholar-activists who contribute research and historical context to today’s antislavery movement, in order to inspire and inform activism and to develop collaborations that empower such efforts. Based in the US with an 800-strong membership, it launched a UK chapter in 2016.

The International Slavery Museum opened in August 2007 during the bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade. By 2016 it had welcomed nearly 4 million visitors. It is the only museum of its kind to look at aspects of historical and contemporary slavery as well as being an international hub for resources on human rights issues. It is located in Liverpool’s Albert Dock, at the centre of a World Heritage site and only yards away from the dry docks where 18th-century slave trading ships were repaired and fitted out.

The Centre for the Study of International Slavery (CSIS) was founded in 2006 by National Museums Liverpool and the University of Liverpool to collaborate with international and local communities of scholars researching slavery, abolition and their legacies ahead of the opening of the International Slavery Museum on 23 August 2007. It supports and shares leading research about human enslavement and its legacies, and works together with other universities and organisations to develop scholarly and public activities related to slavery in its historical and contemporary manifestations.


Registration open for new ‘Ending Slavery’ online course

Registration is now open for the world’s first MOOC about contemporary slavery, exploring how to end the enslavement of 46 million people. Part of the ‘Antislavery Usable Past’ research project, this free, four-week ‘massive open online course’ is taught by human rights experts and historians through Future Learn. It starts October 17 – see the Future Learn website for more information and to sign up!

Antislavery and Trafficking PhD School in Brno, Czech Republic

In November 2016, the Antislavery Usable Past project will team up with the Utrecht Network to deliver a five-day interdisciplinary PhD School focused on antislavery and trafficking.

The School is open to any PhD candidate whose dissertation is focused on issues of slavery, antislavery, or trafficking; be it historical or contemporary. The School will enable PhD candidates to develop a network of early career scholars; learn practical academic skills and multi- and inter -disciplinary methods; and engage with leading scholars in the field.

The PhD School in Antislavery and Trafficking will take place in the picturesque Bohemian City of Brno, Czech Republic, at Masaryk University. It includes a one-day field trip to Vienna, Austria, to visit the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the agency tasked with the taking the lead on issues of trafficking internationally.

See the Utrecht Network website for more information and details of the application process. Members of the Antislavery Usable Past postgraduate research network are particularly welcome to apply.

New publication: Britain’s History and Memory of Transatlantic Slavery

This new collection of essays brings together localised case studies of Britain’s history and memory of its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, and slavery. These essays, ranging in focus from eighteenth-century Liverpool to twenty-first-century rural Cambridgeshire, from racist ideologues to Methodist preachers, examine how transatlantic slavery impacted on, and continues to impact, people and places across Britain.

The new publication features the work of Kate Donington and John Oldfield. It will be published in September 2016 by Liverpool University Press. See the flyer for further information and details about the pre-publication discount.

Unchosen Film Competition

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Unchosen uses the power of film to combat modern slavery. They believe that film can be a powerful tool that can explain modern slavery in ways that words cannot.

Every two years they invite national and international filmmakers to enter their Modern Slavery Film Competition, to help them highlight the issue of Modern Slavery in the UK. You can see some of the results of previous competitions here.

This year, they are focusing on child slavery in the UK. You can find out more about the film competition here. If you think film really can change things, and you’re a filmmaker with a vision, then enter the Unchosen Modern Slavery Short Film Competition. Details on how to enter the competition can be found  here. You can follow all the news about the competition on their  Facebook pages Unchosenfilmcompetition2016 or on Twitter @comp_film

WISE wins Queen’s Anniversary Prize for contributions to slavery studies

Queen's anniversary prize


The Queen’s Anniversary Prize was presented to Professor Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor of the University, and Professor John Oldfield, the Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, at a Buckingham Palace ceremony, on February 25.

The University of Hull was one of only 21 UK universities and colleges honoured with the prestigious award. The Wilberforce Institute was selected after a rigorous procedure, which examined the transformational research carried out into both historical and contemporary forms of slavery. The Institute’s work to highlight how many people are enslaved in the world today was also noted by the judging panel.

An estimated 35 million people are enslaved worldwide in an illegal trade worth £150 billion, more than at any point in history. The Institute helped to establish the Global Slavery Index (GSI) with the Walk Free Foundation, in Australia, in order to establish the scale of the problem. Staff from the Wilberforce Institute, which is based next to the birthplace of abolitionist William Wilberforce in High Street, Hull, now advises governments around the world on tackling the problems highlighted by the GSI.

The Institute’s Director, Professor John Oldfield said:

‘It is my firm belief that only by studying the past can we imagine a future that is different. The Wilberforce Institute is both studying the past and using this study to help to imagine a future that is significantly different. Receiving this award is recognition of the Institute’s cutting-edge research, not least in revising estimates of those enslaved today. Winning the Queen’s Anniversary Prize not only confirms our global reputation in the field of slavery studies but puts us in a position to attract the levels of funding that will allow us to go on producing research that informs public practice and policy, at local, national and international levels.’

Project investigator Kevin Bales receives honorary degree



The University of Nottingham has awarded Kevin Bales an honorary doctorate, in recognition of his leadership of the global antislavery movement.

For the last 20 years, Professor Bales has led a movement in response to the enslavement of nearly 36 million people worldwide. His breakthrough research redefined our understanding of modern slavery, and formed the basis for many new laws, policy initiatives and campaigns. Universities UK has named his work one of the 100 world-changing discoveries of the past 50 years, praising his arguments that inspired new policies.

He has advised the United Nations, the European Parliament, and numerous national governments, worked with businesses to address slavery in their supply chains, founded and directed an antislavery NGO, worked as the primary academic advisor to the Walk Free Foundation and as a trustee of Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights organization. He has received the Grawemeyer Prize for the Promotion of World Order, the Davenport Human Rights Award, the Premio Viareggio for services to humanity, a Peabody Award, and two Emmys for a film that he co-wrote, based on his Pulitzer-nominated book Disposable People, which itself is published in 11 languages.

The citation at the graduation ceremony, delivered by Professor Zoe Trodd, concluded: “He is an outstanding example to those graduating today, for his courage, vision and determination – for his pioneering life of purpose.” You can read a press release about this year’s honorary graduates.

Postdoctoral fellow’s research featured on BBC documentary


‘Slave Emancipation; Or, John Bull Gulled Out Of Twenty Millions’. Printed and published by G. Drake, 12 Houghton Street, Clare Market, London.  UCL Art Collection, UCL, EPC8032.

Katie Donington’s research into slave-ownership features in the two-part BBC series Britain’s Forgotten Slave-Owners, shown on BBC 2 at 9pm on July 16 and 22. Based in the Department of American and Canadian Studies and the Centre for Research in Race and Rights at the University of Nottingham, Dr. Donington holds a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship with the Antislavery Usable Past project (AHRC).