2020 has picked up where 2019 left off—with more and more schools in the Atlantic Basin launching programs to come to terms with difficult pasts. Today, we are delighted to announce that the University of Nottingham has signed on to Universities Studying Slavery (USS). It represents the sixth English school to join and expands the international USS contingent to ten institutions.
The University of Nottingham has established a Nottingham and Historical Slavery task and finish group to undertake research into the legacies of the history of transatlantic slavery with respect to Nottingham. The work of the group is focussed on economic activity, family heritage, and other legacies that have a connection to the city and its two universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University.
While both institutions were founded in the 20th century, there is a common starting point in the heart of the City of Nottingham that dates back to the late 18th Century, while the historical lace industry had direct supply chains connected to the harvesting and processing of cotton in Southern Plantations in the United States.
The research group comprises members of the University of Nottingham’s academic staff; administrative, professional and management staff; operations and facility staff; members of the Nottingham Afro-Caribbean Community; and representatives from Nottingham Trent University. The group has had a number of planning meetings and a methodological workshop involving researchers from University College London and the University of Glasgow to design their approach to studying the complexity of this important history.
In autumn 2019, the University of Nottingham appointed a Research Fellow, Dr James Dawkins, to carry out the frontline and primary research on this history with the support and guidance of the group. Dr Dawkins was appointed into the Department of History in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham. The research will be carried out for a period of eighteen months in the first instance and the work of the group will involve the production of an official report, community engagement events, academic outputs, and recommendations for reparatory justice measures.
Again, we are honored to have another English school doing this work–our movement continues to grow!