Our venues

Blog

Posts tagged with 'slavery'

Foundations for the future

25 January 2011 by Richard

mechanical digger digging foundations

 A Happy New Year to everyone and as someone with Chinese ancestry it is fitting to wish you all a fruitful Year of the Rabbit. Liverpool has a long established and rich Chinese community, one that adds to the diverse fabric of the city. There has been a Chinese community since the mid-nineteenth century which originally settled around the docks but in more recent times settled in and around Berry and Duke Street. Interestingly Liverpool’s Chinatown has the largest Chinese arch in Europe and indeed outside of China. The New Year celebrations in Liverpool are fantastic and well worth attending.

The museum sector has a number of challenges in 2011 but I believe that the International Slavery Museum will continue to have a strong offer and build on the success of 2010. A year which saw us pass the 1 millionth visitor mark; launch the new International Slavery Museum book Transatlantic Slavery: An introduction; host a series of successful exhibitions; develop our contemporary slavery collection and open our new Campaign Zone.

For many years there has been the debate within the sector as to whether museums should be places of neutrality, islands of objectivity in an often subjective world. I wrote about this in a recent article. Those of us involved in the International Slavery Museum disagree and feel that museums are by their very nature active agents of social change and should actively seek to do so. Janet Marstine in ‘New Museum Theory and Practice’ (2006) has echoed similar sentiments;
Read more…

Fela – The Black President

12 January 2011 by Lisa

FELA! is a new musical that is taking the world by storm! Here is our Education Manager, Vikky Evans-Hubbard, from the International Slavery Museum to tell us more about it…


While in London recently I was lucky enough to see the London Production of FELA! at the Royal National Theatre. The musical, produced by Jay-Z and Will and Jada Smith, tells the story of Afrobeat pioneer and political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
 
Born into a middle class Nigerian family in 1938,  a cousin of writer Wole Soyinka, who was later to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, his mother was a well renowned political activist in the anti-colonial movement, and he was exposed to political ideas at an early age.
 
His belief that art should be political meant that inevitably his music carried strong messages. His influences included the Black Power Movement, discovered while in the United States, this led him to change his middle name to Anikulapo (meaning “he who carries death in his pouch”), stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name.
 
Fela’s music, ‘Afrobeat’ is a fusion of Yoruba rhythms, Highlife, Jazz, Funk, chanted vocals and call and response. It became hugely popular in Nigeria and across the continent in general. He sang in pidgin English, so that his music could be enjoyed and understood by individuals all over Africa where the local languages spoken are many and diverse.Music terminals with headphones in the slavery museumThe music desk in the Legacy gallery at the International Slavery Museum. Read more…

Stop the Traffik ACT Northern Forum

21 December 2010 by Sam

The International Slavery Museum’s role as an active, campaigning museum has led to a number of initiatives, including the creation of a Campaign zone as well as exhibitions such as Home Alone and Trafficked. Dave Cookson from the Liverpool ACT Group reports on another recent event at the museum:


“The International Slavery Museum was host to the first ever Northern Forum for Active Communities against Trafficking groups (ACTs) on 23 October this year. The Liverpool ACT group were joined by members of groups from Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester in addition to representatives from the STOP THE TRAFFIK organisation based in London.
hand held up, in a request to stop

Copyright STOP THE TRAFFIK

The event was held in the Anthony Walker Education Centre where members were greeted with complimentary fair trade chocolate bars and asked to participate in an appeal to Nick Clegg regarding human trafficking.

The forum was used as an opportunity for STOP THE TRAFFIK volunteers to inform each other of what their groups had been doing, in what proved to be a fruitful exercise as attendees left with new ideas about how to fight the problem of trafficking. Read more…

An act of defiance

1 December 2010 by davidl

Today marks 55 years since Rosa Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress, defied the segregation laws of the southern states of the USA by refusing to give up her seat on the bus for a white man, and in doing so became a figurehead for the Civil Rights movement.

As the bus she was travelling on in Montgomery, Alabama, became more crowded, the bus driver decided to move the ‘colored’ sign which divided the passengers by race further back the bus, and demanded that Parks also move back to allow white passengers to sit down — Parks’ refusal and subsequent arrest led to a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organised by the then-unknown Reverend Martin Luther King. Though Parks was not the first to defy segregation laws in this way, her protest was the catalyst for mass action which led ultimately to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and an end to segregation.

Parks’ story is just one of the inspirational stories in the history of the Civil Rights movement: find out more in the Legacy gallery of the International Slavery Museum. Read more…

Alice’s voyage

12 November 2010 by Sam

detail of an old document

Curator of maritime archives Sarah Starkey explains why this document is helping to build up a picture of the history of the slave trade and the ships involved with it:


“This image is a detail from a recent offer to the Maritime Archives and Library. It is part of the ship’s articles for the ship ‘Alice’, on a voyage from Liverpool to Africa and the West Indies in 1760, which indicates a slave trading voyage

The document is missing the list of crew signatures which would usually be attached. The articles were their contract for the voyage and they signed to agree to the conditions of service listed, such as food provided, when wages would be paid and what share of the profits would be allocated.

The articles also state that the Alice carries a Letter of Marque, this means that the ship was a privateer (a pirate with a licence from the government) and could capture merchant vessels from other nations and their valuable cargos. This could be a very profitable enterprise. Read more…

Win a copy of our new Transatlantic Slavery book

29 September 2010 by davidl

Book cover

Transatlantic Slavery: An Introduction

Our new publication Transatlantic Slavery: An Introduction has hit the shelves. 

The book draws on the wealth of material held by the International Slavery Museum and tells of the 400-year period in which at least 12 million Africans were taken into slavery in the largest forced migration in human history. With a foreword by Reverend Jesse Jackson it’s an excellent introduction to the subject.

With Black History Month just around the corner, it’s a fitting time for the launch of the book which examines an important chapter in Black history. Don’t forget to check our special programme of free events throughout October. Read more…

Campaign Zone opens at the International Slavery Museum

10 September 2010 by Sam

man in museum gallery

Stephen Carl-Lokko at the entrance of the new Campaign Zone

As you will no doubt be aware the International Slavery Museum has never been content just to reflect on the history of the transatlantic slave trade, its abolition and legacies. Anyone who has read the excellent blog posts by the head of the museum Richard Benjamin will know that it is an active campaigning museum which works to raise awareness of modern forms of slavery and how people can help in the fight against them.

This has led the museum to hold the Trafficked exhibition and acquire and exhibit thought provoking items such as the ankle bracelets worn by modern day slaves and the artwork ‘Missing’ (2007) by Rachel Wilberforce, all of which are currently on display. Read more…

New books available to buy and win

31 August 2010 by Karen

Book cover showing The Beatles and The Zutons

The Beat Goes On: Liverpool, Popular Music and the Changing City

It’s all go on the publications front at NML with new titles arriving and due shortly.

You may already know that we recently launched a book to accompany the Hitched exhibition at Sudley House. Also called Hitched it features 13 beautiful wedding outfits in full colour, together with close-up details and many original wedding photographs. It’s a snip at £4.95 and is available through our venue shops and our online bookshop.

If you enjoyed The Beat Goes On exhibition at World Museum last year then the new book of the same name is for you. It is a critical historical account of popular music in Liverpool, looking at why the city is so important musically and how has it sustained its importance, from the Beatles to the Zutons and beyond. It’s also available to buy online and through our venues. Read more…

Ask a curator!

26 August 2010 by Lisa

Ask a curator day logo

Have you ever wanted to know about how you look after an Egyptian mummy? Do you ever dream of putting together your own art exhibition? If you’d like to ask some of our museum and gallery curators a question about what they do then read on…

Ask a Curator day is Wednesday 1 September and curators from all over the world are signing up to take part in this giant Q&A session – taking place on Twitter!

We are joining in and want you to ask our curators questions on either art, slavery or Egyptology, as these are their specialist subjects.

We have three great experts ready to answer you; Egyptologist Ashley Cooke, art curator Laura MacCulloch and curator of transatlantic slavery Angela Robinson. Read more…

Ankle bracelet tells of modern day slavery

10 August 2010 by Sam

simple brass coloured u-shaped bangle

This bracelet may look like a beautiful piece of jewellery but the story behind it is much less attractive. Curator of transatlantic slavery Rebecca Watkin explains:


“The International Slavery Museum team have recently displayed two ankle bracelets which have been donated by Anti-Slavery International. One of the ankle bracelets was ‘worn’ by a young girl in Niger who was subjected to a form of descent based slavery.

Descent based slavery occurs in some countries where people are either born into or are from a group that society views as suited for being used as slave labour. People from this group are not allowed to own land or inherit property and denied an education, a status which is carried from one generation to the next.

The bracelets represent the importance of the museum’s work in developing its collections in this area and campaigning on the issue. The team felt it was important to display the ankle bracelets with the personal stories, which really challenge the visitor who believes slavery to be an issue of the past and not of the present. Read more…

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

Award-winning blog

corpcomms awards winner logo

Subscribe

RSS RSS Feed

Disclaimer

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.