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Transatlantic slavery and museums forum launched

This article was first published by the Museums Association.

National Museums Liverpool (NML) has launched a national network to share learning across the sector about the legacy of transatlantic slavery.

Plans for the Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies in Museums Forum were announced this week to coincide with Slavery Remembrance Day on 23 August. NML has created the network in partnership with Black Cultural Archives, Bristol Culture, Hull Museums, Glasgow Museums and the Museum of London.

The Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies in Museums Forum will be officially launched at a special event at the Museums Association Conference on 8 November.

“We are delighted to launch this forum, which will explore the positive work that is already underway throughout the UK to highlight the history and profound impact of the transatlantic slave trade,” said NML director Laura Pye.

“This forum will also provide a safe and much needed-support network for museums who are focusing their efforts to better tell, engage and contextualise this horrific part of our history, which is often ignored. By addressing this complex topic collectively, we can further spark discussions and transparent dialogue and continue to improve awareness within the sector.”

Duncan Dornan, the head of Glasgow Museums, said: “Consultation shows there is a keen appetite from the public for museums to address the heritage of the transatlantic slave trade and to discuss its legacies.

“Glasgow Museums is committed to ensuring that the history of transatlantic slavery, legacies of empire and exposure of racism are dealt with clearly and robustly. The network will enable us to connect, share and collaborate on current discourse, best practice, and responses in museums across the UK.”

Finbarr Whooley, the director of content at the Museum of London, said: “The Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies in Museums Forum comes at a critical time. It will provide support and vital investment into physical spaces and digital resources, build on the work already being done and broaden understanding via a sustainable, national network of partners committed to shared goal.

“The Museum of London is proud to be a core partner and, as the home of the London Sugar & Slavery gallery, one of only three dedicated galleries focused on the transatlantic slave trade in the UK, we have a particular responsibility and commitment,” Whooley continued. “We encourage the wider sector to take part and look forward to helping drive real change.”

The Transatlantic Slavery and Legacies in Museums Forum will act as a central point for making connections and shared learning through regular activities and amplify the work being done across the UK. The emotional and mental impact this work is having on practitioners, stakeholders and the wider public will be a priority.

The forum is open to all museums, galleries, archives, heritage organisations and their community partners.

To find out more and register interest to become a member visit liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/tslforum

ICOM UK