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Together is better

19 August 2019 by Laura Pye

Laura Pye at Liverpool's waterfront

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool. Picture by Gareth Jones

The International Slavery Museum welcomes the discussion around a London museum on slavery. The work we do here every day promotes education about this critical part of our UK and global history – which is by no means consigned to the past. Our very purpose is for more people to know, and confront, this history, so the more discussion about it, the better.

We opened in 2007 in recognition of the need for a major, national museum that addressed the UK’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies. Since opening, we have welcomed more than 4.5 million visitors. We hold the world’s first permanent modern slavery collection and have hosted over 250,000 visits by schoolchildren. The support for us in response to Sadiq Khan’s call for a London slavery museum has been quite overwhelming.

If the London museum proceeds, it should build on the work already done here at the existing International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, and the good work already established by many museums across the UK, including the Museum of London. Because the power of museums working together is immense. Together, we can do more, in areas that really matter during this critical time in our history, when many are deeply –and rightly – worried about the future of human rights.

For our own part at the International Slavery Museum, we have achieved a lot – but there is still so much more we want and need to do, to serve our community and our visitors. We need more funding to support our ambitions and increase our reach. We are seeking to expand the Museum to create a prominent entrance on Liverpool’s historic waterfront. And to reinforce the Museum’s, and the UK’s, position nationally and internationally as a world leader in the fight against modern slavery.

We wish to continue working with the many museums across the UK who are already doing great work to explore this part of our history. Together we can offer a fantastic country-wide resource, exploring shared and different regional histories and aspects of slavery, of which there are many: from chattel slavery to human trafficking and modern slavery and exploring today’s legacies of the transatlantic slave trade: racism and hate crime. And I’m pleased to confirm we are in contact with Sadiq Khan’s office.

So, yes – let’s discuss how London recognises the history of slavery. But don’t forget about the regions and the knowledge here. Not all our National Museums, national collections or nation’s stories are, or should be, solely in the capital.

Find out more about us. Everyone is invited to our events on 22 and 23 August as we mark Slavery Remembrance Day for the 20th year in Liverpool. 

  1. Marina says:

    Dear Sarah I am currently living in Sheffield and working on human trafficking and modern slavery in Italy, as I have been working for the last 10 years in one of the biggest reception centres of the country. Sheffield Hallam University is supporting me and I will be going for a PhD on Human Rights. With my organisation Mama Africa I am working at a photo-art installation on the terrible journey people are forced to take and am wondering if we can meet anytime soon? I believe unity is strength, just like you said, and this is a missing tile in the mosaic of contemporary history. I hope we will be talking soon, thank you very much, kindest regards Marina Schirone

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Marina, Thanks for your message. Good to hear from you. I’ve passed your message on to our Education team who’ll contact you to explore ways we can work together or share a dialogue. All best, Sarah

  2. Angie Amra Anderson says:

    I am eager to know more about the potential Museum in London. please, can you send any updates to my email address. Equally, I was born in Bristol and like Liverpool, it was one of the largest slavery areas in the UK. Is there any consideration of developing one in Bristol?. I am eager to find out whether the Museum are looking at ways of Reparations for the atrocities and inhumane history of enslavement. This could be a way forward to do something practical for the future generations. If there is anything I could do to help in the above areas, please let me know. My website is http://www.amraproductions.com and would offer my services to be part of the solution.

    Eagerly await your reply,

    Thanking you in advance

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