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Projects since 2007


Given the number of projects listed in the Remembering 1807 collection, it is fair to conclude that the public history of slavery in the UK has been somewhat dominated by events that took place in 2007. This period provided much needed funding for people and organisations to research and represent this history. Such resources have been harder to secure in the years since.

However, universities, heritage organisations, community groups, artists and others have reflected on Britain’s slaving past since 2007. Many have responded to the criticism that the predominant focus on abolition in 2007 inhibited critical engagement with the wider subject: specifically, that slavery has a much longer history than that of abolition, with legacies still felt today.

What follows is a by no means exhaustive list in chronological order of some of the new directions that historical research and public history projects have taken in the years since the bicentenary of the Abolition Act of 1807:

1807 Commemorated project (2007-09), based at the University of York, engaged with the ways in which the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade was commemorated in Britain.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership (2009-2014) and Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833 (2013-15) research and analyse British slave-owners, as key to understanding the extent and the limits of slavery’s role in shaping British history and leaving lasting legacies.

Journeys and Kinship (2012). Exhibition at Museum of London Docklands about London and the African diaspora.

Local Roots / Global Routes (2013-15) was a collaborative project led by Legacies of British Slave-ownership and Hackney Museum and Archives. The project created a Key Stage 3 (ages 13-14) resource concerning the links between Hackney and transatlantic slavery.

Call and Responses: The Odyssey of the Moor (2013-14). An art installation by Graeme Mortimer Evelyn at Kensington Palace.

Global Cotton Connections: East meets West in the Derbyshire Peak District (2014-15) sought to examine the global histories and legacies of cotton in the UK’s Derbyshire Peak through archival research and engagement with local communities. Collaborative work was carried out with two local community-based groups: Hindu Samaj Sheffield and the Slave Trade Legacies volunteers from Nottingham.

Their Spirits (2014). An exhibition by the Jamaican artist Laura Facey at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

Liberty Bound: Slavery and St Helena (2014-15). An exhibition at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

Runaway Slaves in Britain: bondage, freedom and race in the eighteenth century (2014-18) at the University of Glasgow produced a searchable database of over 800 newspaper advertisements placed by masters and owners seeking the capture and return of enslaved and bound people who had escaped.

1745: An Untold Story of Slavery. A film screenplay by Morayo and Moyo Akandé about two enslaved sisters who escaped slavery in Scotland.

Making Freedom (2014 - ). An exhibition by the Windrush Foundation which celebrates Emancipation in the Caribbean (1838). 

Points of Departure: Photography of African Migrations (2015). An exhibition at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia.

Three Rooms (2015). An exhibition at The Coach House Studio, Sleaford. Artwork by Harriott Brand.

Black Georgians: The Shock of the Familiar (2015-16). An exhibition at the Black Cultural Archives, London

Mayfest presents: Selina Thompson - Salt (2016). A performance at Arnolfini, Bristol.

Ink and Blood: Stories of Abolition (2017-18). An exhibition at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool

Colonial Countryside (2017- ). A youth-led history and writing project about National Trust houses’ Caribbean and East India Company connections.

Fighting for Empire: From slavery to military service in the West India Regiments (2018). An exhibition at Museum of London Docklands in partnership with the University of Warwick's Africa's Sons Under Arms research project (2014-18)

Untold Stories: A celebration of black people in Kent (2018). An exhibition by Medway African and Caribbean Association at Historic Dockyard Chatham

Slavery, culture and collecting (2018). An exhibition at Museum of London Docklands

A Series of Unfortunate Inheritances (2018). A series of film installations exploring the links between British slave-ownership and the development of the V&A.

Our Bondage and Our Freedom (2018-19). An international project to discuss the activism and authorship of Frederick Douglass and his family.

Sweet Tooth (2018-19) by voice and performance artist Elaine Mitchener.