international slavery museum – Blog, Liverpool Museums

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A green resistance: plants and enslavement

10 August 2018 by Sarah

pale yellow flower

The design for this year’s Slavery Remembrance Day posters

Have you seen the new design for our Slavery Remembrance Day posters and leaflets this year?

They are all around the city centre and waterfront promoting Slavery Remembrance Day and the Unity Carnival.

A big, pale yellow flower sits in the middle of a black background.

Have you wondered why we have used this image? There are two reasons:

First, and for the first year ever, we have added a theme to the programme of celebration, commemoration and remembrance we hold annually for Slavery Remembrance Day. And that theme is ‘growth’. Many of our events will explore that idea this year.

This year’s design is related to growth, because the pale yellow flower on our new posters is actually the okra flower. We all know, and many of us will eat, the green vegetable – but maybe don’t recognise the flower.  Read more…

Last chance to vote for us!

26 July 2018 by Richard

A World Cup final, Wimbledon final  – and on Friday, the last chance to vote for the International Slavery Museum for this year’s National Lottery Fund Good Causes Award – July has it all.

If we are to judge the success of a museum by the amount of trophies and prizes it has been awarded though; it would in my view miss the point. And in our case this is good as we have technically not ‘won’ that much these past 10 years even though our work and ethos – and in particular our educational programmes with young people – are globally recognised and seen as exemplars within the field of museums and social justice.

Now an honourable mention by The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence in 2009 was marvellous. It was good for team morale and an acknowledgement of the work of our partners and supporters. And only last month the Museum received the 2018 UNI Global Union Freedom from Fear award for our work within the field of human rights and modern-day slavery and enslavement. UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions.

But for me being a recipient of an award that recognizes our work with young people – the future of an inclusive and democratic society – who visit a museum space and have an experience that stays with them for a lifetime; now that is some achievement.  Help it happen by voting for us. We have done so much these past 10 years, often working on difficult and challenging subjects, and we are proud to say we have made a difference – maybe just a small one – but enough to say we have made Liverpool, the UK and hopefully many places around the world more tolerant, more inclusive, and better informed.

You can vote for us here or by Tweeting with the hashtag #NLAIntSlaveryMuseum. Voting closes at midnight on Friday 27 July 2018. Thank you for your support.

Behind the Scenes at Brazilica

11 July 2018 by Sarah

International Slavery Museum Young Ambassador, Lois South, had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Liverpool Carnival Company and interview their Director Maeve Morris. Find out more about Lois’ experience here:

“Upon entering The Old Library on Lodge Lane, I was hit by a whirlwind of feathers, sequins and, of course, glitter! The once unused space has been transformed into what I can only describe as a factory of wonders, where founders Maeve and Roger Morris, churn out costumes and floats in every conceivable colour, with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers.

“As a young ambassador for International Slavery Museum, I was able to get a chance to sit down with Maeve, to find out about her exciting life experiences which led her and her partner Roger to create the now iconic Brazilica Festival, back in 2008. This fantastic 3-day annual festival continues to bring all the amazing aspects of Brazilian culture to Liverpool – and yes, that does include the food!

International Slavery Museum Ambassador, Lois, with one of Maeve’s favourite headdresses

“While we were at the library, Maeve also gave us the inside scoop on the inner workings of Brazilica. I was able to have a closer look at the fabulous floats and displays that she and Roger had been building, along with their hardworking volunteers. The initial sight of feathers, glitter and sequins didn’t do any of their creations true justice. Maeve and Roger were extremely humble about their extraordinary achievement, in putting together the carnival.

“When I asked how long it took to create the Poseidon float, Roger merely shrugged and casually said “six weeks and five people”, as if this magnificent display of artwork and craftsmanship towering over me in all of its splendour was just light work.”

“From the bejewelled headdresses to the medusa float- it really was a sight to behold. As a non-native of Liverpool, who was previously unaware of Brazilica, I can safely say that I’ve been missing out.

“Our interview with Maeve is part of a series of interviews conducted for National Museums Liverpool’s Sankofa project and the ‘Seeds of Change’ Zine that myself and artist Seleena Daye have been working on about the incredible lives and works of 5 Liverpool women with the ability to inspire activism. I had the fantastic opportunity to learn how to record oral testimonies when we met Maeve, working alongside an incredible team including Seleena Daye (Artist), Christine Holt (Oral Historian), Stef Bradley (Education Manager) & Claire Stringer (Visual Minute Taker), to record our meeting with Maeve for the Sankofa Project.

An amazing feathered headpiece

“Whilst listening to the interviews I had a chance to reflect on what Sankofa means to me. The project not only explores Liverpool’s Black history, it also helps to provide a more well-rounded picture of the oldest Black community in England. A community which Maeve and Roger celebrate and bring together through their carnival and samba school. The ‘Seeds of Change’ Zine also aims to show that there many different ways to be active in your community. Activism isn’t just standing around with placards. Maeve actively works to bring Brazilian culture to everyone in Liverpool, young or old, male or female.

“This year, it’s more important than ever to reflect on the inspirational women in our communities. Whilst 2018, marks 100 Years since Women rightly gained the Right to Vote in the UK, it is important to consider the women in today’s world who will go on to progress the cause of women’s rights and take up space, both close to home and around the world. The fantastic work that Maeve does, could itself have a century-long legacy – and hopefully, Brazillica will still be going strong in 2118!”

Visual minutes of Maeve’s interview created by artist Claire Stringer (morethanminutes.co.uk)

About The Author

Lois is studying History at Liverpool John Moores University. She is a Young Ambassador for the International Slavery Museum and is currently working together with artist Seleena Daye to create a zine for the Sankofa project highlighting women activists in Liverpool. Lois is also a keen blogger on a variety of topic from carnivals to strange histories. You can check out more of her work at her blog The New Weird.

Our Sankofa ‘Seeds of Change’ zine will be available on International Slavery Remembrance Day this year so drop by International Slavery Museum then to find out more about the Sankofa project from our Sankofa team, Lois and project artist Seleena Daye. You can pick up a copy of the zine too!

Vote for us in the National Lottery Awards!

27 June 2018 by Sam

Visitor in the International Slavery Museum with overlaid hashtag #NLAIntSlaveryMuseum and National Lottery Awards

We need your help! The International Slavery Museum have been shortlisted in the National Lottery Awards in the Best Education Project category. We would love to win – for our visitors and the city of Liverpool. But we can’t do it without you – please vote for the International Slavery Museum on the National Lottery Awards website. Voting is open from Wednesday 27 June until Friday 27 July 2018.

You can also vote for us on Twitter by using the hashtag #NLAIntSlaveryMuseum. Anyone who tweets this hashtag or retweets a post containing this hashtag will register a vote. Only one vote per account is allowed regardless of how many times you tweet or retweet.

The annual National Lottery Awards celebrate the difference that Lottery-funded projects have made to communities across the UK.

The International Slavery Museum has attracted more than four million visitors since it opened in 2007 and aims to increase the understanding of transatlantic and chattel slavery and their enduring legacies through education, collections, research and public engagement programmes.  Read more…

Through My Eyes

26 June 2018 by Sarah Han

Photograph by Charleigh

As one of the education managers at Seized! The National Border Force Museum I have the privilege of working with lots of different people of all ages in a number of different ways, including staff, visitors, school groups and families. It can be hectic at times but certainly the variety keeps me interested and the energy and enthusiasm of the groups I work with spurs me on to share that interest and enthusiasm with our visitors. Read more…

Hello to the Terrace Tapestries

20 June 2018 by Sarah

Image copyright Jah Jussa

From tomorrow at the Museum, you’ll be able to see the Terrace Tapestries – the artworks which launched the Art of Football season, which is happening now across Liverpool. Entry to the Terrace Tapestries display will be free and everyone is welcome!

The FotoOcto arts collective instigated Terrace Tapestries as part of the Art of Football season and worked with The Florrie and artist Peter Carney to create the banners. They have been designed to show unity and cohesion across communities, which we love, and we’re proud to display them together.

Enjoy this blog by Jah Jussa, filmmaker and co-director of FotoOcto alongside photographer Tabitha Jussa, on the Terrace Tapestries:

“We’ve long admired the banners and flags created as fan art by the football fans of Merseyside. From the Everton 1984 FA Cup offering, ‘Sorry Elton, I guess that’s why they call us the Blues’, to Liverpool’s fan favourite, ‘Joey ate the Frogs legs…’ from the 1977 European Cup final, football supporters on Merseyside have laughed and coalesced behind fans banners – banners that some would call ‘folk art’ or fan culture, but which we consider to be true art and invention.

“The World Cup is the ultimate football tournament for bringing fans of different cultures and experiences together. As the World Cup 2018 got closer, and the idea of Art of Football was born, we started to think what if we made a banner for each country? How would each country represent themselves? And what would happen if we paraded them all through the centre of town before exhibiting them in the International Slavery Museum’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. building? We set out to discover.

“We wanted a fans representation of their country – no flags, but we’d have the country’s badge on one side – we wanted to veer away from nationalism to a more rounded depiction of each country.

“We got famed LFC banner maker Peter Carney on board. Peter is world renowned for his Hillsborough memorial banner, and more recently for the Sean Cox banner that the players of LFC took onto the pitch after the second semi final against Roma. Peter came up with the idea of a circular banner, representing the world within football and set about making the prototype – England’s banner which shows Liverpool as the most successful football city in the country – a total of 27 league titles between Liverpool and Everton.

“We reached out to the communities of each country on Merseyside and we ran polls on twitter aimed at national teams, newspapers and fans groups to select the final design.

Image copyright Jah Jussa

“The workshops were based at The Florrie, in the Dingle area of Liverpool, and over two weeks the banners were created. Where possible we invited people from each country to implement the design. When they couldn’t come, we got local artists and community members to help. Samia came from the French community, Francis and Cleuman from the Brazilian community, Omar from Syria came and helped Paul from The Florrie with the Arabic script for his Mo Salah/Egypt design. And artists and non-artists from the Dingle got creative with the paint.

“In the end we produced 33 banners. One for each of the world cup countries and also an extra one for us. Omar wrote ‘Love and Peace’ in Arabic and graphic artist Slim Smith designed the ‘World united through football’ motif. On the back, we got handprints from all of the artist involved.

“With the images finished, the fabric was given to fashion designer Paula Johnson to make into the circular banners that you can see.

“Ultimately, what we wanted to show was that the world can be united, and if it’s through football, even for a four week period every four years, then that can only be a good thing.”

Find out when you can see the Terrace Tapestries at our Dr Martin Luther King. Jr building. Entry is free.

New Black Achievers Announced

18 June 2018 by Richard

Black Achiever’s Wall in the ‘Legacy’ gallery of the International Slavery Museum. Image ©Redman Design/ International Slavery Museum

I am pleased to announce the addition of three new achievers to the Museum’s Black Achievers Wall. This popular exhibit celebrates the many different forms of achievement by people of African descent. The connection is that to reach their goals, to achieve in their field, they have in their own way broken barriers, put their heads above the parapet, taken risks, led the way. They have and do inspire.

The three new additions were nominated by Uniglobal members, a global trade union representing 20 million working people in 13 sectors of work around the world, with whom we work closely.  We proudly celebrate our Black Achievers:

 

Bernie Grant MP, 1944-2000

Bernie Grant MP, beside the plaque on the historic Liverpool Waterfront near to where slaver ships were once fitted out and repaired at our very first Slavery Remembrance Day event, back in 1999. A plaque is still in place today. Image courtesy of National Museums Liverpool.

Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), a trade unionist who became Leader of Haringey Council in 1985, the first Black person to hold such a role in Europe. Elected in 1987 as MP for Tottenham, he was an outspoken advocate for his community, and for righting the historic wrongs arising from colonisation and enslavement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Mills, born 1958

Gloria Mills. ©Andrew Wiard

One of Britain’s leading trade unionists, Gloria Mills has campaigned vigorouslyagainst all forms of discrimination. She was the first Black woman to serve as President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). Her pioneering work on equality and employment rights has helped change the agenda, structure and culture of trade unions in the UK and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, born 1963

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II. ©Steve Pavey

A past president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) North Carolina state chapter. Rev. Barber is a committed campaigner for the rights of African Americans, the poor and other marginalised groups within the US. In 2017, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign for justice, love and equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email us if you have suggestions for our Black Achievers Wall. Or find out more about why we have the Black Achievers Wall, and our Legacy, gallery here.

Get Out film screening: Positive representation of people of colour in film

5 June 2018 by Stef

Image of a Black man's face, wide eyed and crying

Get Out (2017) © 2016 Universal Pictures

The International Slavery Museum’s Young Ambassadors team have been working in partnership with Scalarama Liverpool (https://scalarama.com/liverpool/) to explore issues of representation in the film industry and what can be done to challenge this. We invited our Ambassadors group to host their own film event in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr building including a post film discussion. Here, ISM Ambassador Rebecca Crossland talks about what visitors can expect at the event. Read more…

New resources and quiet sessions for visitors with Autism and learning difficulties

10 May 2018 by Ann

Welcome guides for World Museum, Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum

National Museums Liverpool, working with partners Autism Together, has signed up to the Autism Charter to help make our museums and galleries more autism-friendly for visitors, families and colleagues living with autism and learning difficulties.

We have produced a new range of Welcome guides for the museums and will be rolling out new guides for the galleries later in the year.  We’d love you to take a look and let us know what you think of them.  We hope they will help visitors prepare for a visit and answer many of your questions during a visit.  They can be downloaded from our website or copies can be borrowed from the information desks at World Museum, Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Read more…

Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?

23 April 2018 by Sarah

Abolition banner designed in the workshop

As part of our International Women’s Day and #Vote100 programme, our visitors worked with textiles artist Seleena Daye to create a banner celebrating inspiring female abolitionists who fought to end slavery.

In this blog, Seleena shares the processes she used to create the banner and more about the inspiring women who are featured.

“So much of what we read around slavery and the abolition of it is very male centric, so to sit down with a bunch of women of all ages and celebrate through a medium often deemed as ‘women’s work’ was a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

“The reasons why each participant made the piece they did were so varied, from the felt portrait of Sojourner Truth, which was made as a personal challenge to the creator as it was something she had never done and didn’t think she could do. To the embroidered portrait of the Forten Sisters, which was chosen because the creator of that piece is herself 1 of 3 sisters? The Mary Prince piece was chosen because Mary Prince came from Bermuda, like the grandparents of another attendee. Even the piece including an afro comb has a connection both to the creator and to slavery, bringing up discussions around Black hair and the heritage of hairstyles, for example around cornrows being used by enslaved women who, rarely being allowed time or opportunity to do their hair, may have desired a style that would last.

“When bringing the contributions together into a finished piece, I added imagery of other women abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman and Ellen Craft and also explored ways in which people escaped from enslavement, through the Underground Railroad, quilt codes and navigating escape using constellations. There is the quilt code included in the banner, that meant ‘follow the North Star’ and the constellation in the centre is of The Big Dipper which features the North Star.

“In the banner’s corner are some dates, ‘1865 – 2018’, making reference to the date of abolition in the United States of America, and the words ‘Keep Fighting For Freedom’ sitting next to a portrait of Malala Yousafazi, who is a modern day female activist fighting for the freedom of young girls, pointing out that POC are still not truly free. In the opposite corner sits a square with bananas and a cotton plant, things we use today, that one time were picked by the hands of enslaved people, and in some cases still picked by people who don’t have basic human rights.

“I have also included coloured hessian within the banner to represent the goods being packed into hessian sacks, to indigo and African batik inspired fabrics that are a nod to the continent enslaved people were taken from, Africa. I hand dyed the centre piece fabric which was originally a pale blue cotton. I dyed one end green and the other midnight blue, signifying the huge journey many people took, from earth to the sky. The central image of the banner is a silhouette of a woman in shackles under the slogan ‘Am I not a woman and a sister’ which is inspired by abolition imagery used by campaigners at the time, but can also be a message that rings true today.

“It was such a pleasure to be able to create something so important amongst other women who stitched and spoke of solidarity and hardships and how far we’ve come and how far we still have yet to go.

We are women and sisters.”

 Our new female abolitionists banner is here at the International Slavery Museum within the Anthony Walker Education Centre.

This workshop was part of our Adult Creative Offer.



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.