Launch of the Slave Trade Legacies projects
Community events kicked off in style on 12th May 2014 with the launch of the two Nottingham-based Slave Trade Legacies projects on (i) Global Cotton Connections and (ii) the Colour of Money. Bright Ideas had done such a fantastic job of marketing the event that our room at Nottingham Contemporary was packed and buzzing with anticipation. The programme for the day was as packed as the room, with guest speakers including:
- Patrick Vernon OBE Genealogist / Associate Fellow, Every Generation Media / University of Warwick
- Dr Shawn Sobers Senior Lecturer in Photography, University of the West of England
- Dr Martin Glynn Criminologist and Public Health Researcher, University of Wolverhampton
- James Dawkins PhD Student, University College London
Alongside talks about slavery, its histories and legacies, Susanne and I introduced the Global Cotton Connections project, in the hope that some of those attending the launch would want to get involved. It was the first time either of us had been introduced to music!
Despite the upbeat mood created by the Bright Ideas team who were running the event, the topic of slavery is one that is inherently challenging. Discussions between speakers and participants raised a number of difficult questions. A key issue here was whether slavery legacies are too painful to discuss. Questions of relevance and the motives of academics working on these topics were also raised – why do academics get involved in this kind of work? Should limited resources be spent on projects concerned with histories and heritage?
Although discussions were at times challenging, the day proved a success, with participants taking to twitter to talk about it:
Connecting community groups – Hindu Samaj Sheffield event
Later that week, on Friday 16th May, Susanne attended the Global Cotton Connection’s first community event in Sheffield organised by Esme Cleall (University of Sheffield) and Chamu Kuppaswamy, who has taken a leading role in the Hindu Samaj Heritage projects. As well as presenting on the research we’d been doing on the Strutt archives at Derbyshire Record Office, Susanne gave an account of the Slave Trade Legacies launch event and outlined how we hoped to bring together the different groups from Sheffield and Nottingham through a series of events, including trips to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. An account of this workshop by Chamu can be found on the Hindu Samaj Heritage blog, along with a summary of the first joint community trip to the Peak District – more on this to follow in a later blog post.
Spreading the word – Kemet FM & BBC Radio Nottingham
As part of Bright Ideas’ marketing of the Slave Trade Legacies launch event, Susanne and a number of the guest speakers were invited to join Kevin Brown at the studios of 97.5 Kemet FM for his Talk Back show on 11th May. As Nottingham’s first Official Urban Radio Station, Kemet FM serves the needs of the African and Caribbean communities of Nottingham and surrounding areas.
Later that same week Susanne and Danielle Woods from Bright Ideas were invited onto Reya El-Salahi’s Sunday evening show on BBC Nottingham to discuss the Slave Trade Legacies projects further. A clip from this interview can be heard here: