Wilberforce Institute Webinars, Spring 2021

Covid-19 may continue to restrict our opportunities to meet in person, but we hope you will join us in the coming weeks as we bring you a range of expert speakers with a wide variety of interests in our Spring season of webinar talks. Further details and confirmed titles will be available in due course, but for now we aim to introduce you to our experts and their interests. The talks will run from January until May.

Thursday January 28 2021, 4pm GMT

We begin on Thursday January 28 with Professor Sophie White, of the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, who will talk about her latest book Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture/University of North Carolina Press, 2019) https://uncpress.org/book/9781469654041/voices-of-the-enslaved/

Voices of the Enslaved draws on an exceptional set of source material about slavery in French America: court cases in which the enslaved themselves testified. It has won no fewer than seven awards to date, including the prestigious Frederick Douglass Award 2020 for the best book published in English on slavery, resistance or abolition.

Professor White is a historian of early America with an interdisciplinary focus on cultural encounters between Europeans, Africans and Native Americans, and a commitment to Atlantic and global research perspectives. She is also the author of Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians: Material Culture and Race in Colonial Louisiana (Penn Press/McNeil Center for Early American Studies, 2012), of over 10 articles and essays on slavery and race, is co-editor with Trevor Burnard of Hearing Enslaved Voices: African and Indian Slave Testimony in British and French America, 1700–1848 (Routledge, 2020), and is completing a digital humanities project on slave testimony as autobiography in collaboration with the Omohundro Institute.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:



Thursday February 11 2021, 4pm GMT

February sees our regular ‘What’s going on at the Wilberforce Institute?’ slot, when we showcase the work of some of our PhD students. This year we welcome back Craig Barlow, who successfully defended his thesis in April last year on the subject of ‘Child Criminal Exploitation: A new systematic model to improve professional assessment, investigation and intervention’. He will present a summary of his findings. Our three newest PhD students, Isabel Arce Zelada, Mavuto K. Banda and Jen Nghishitende, who make up the ‘Living with the consequences of slavery’ cluster, will draw the evening to a close with a brief discussion of their projects so far.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:



Thursday March 18 2021, 4pm GMT

In March we welcome Klara Skrivankova, formerly of Anti-Slavery International, who is now working as Grants Manager for Trust for London.

Recognised as an expert on human trafficking and forced labour in the UK and internationally, she has been working in the field since 2000. Klara will share her reflections on the UK’s response to modern slavery over the past ten years and consider how close we are to eradicating it.

To sign up for this free event please click on the link below:



Thursday April 22 2021, 4pm BST

For our April session we welcome Dr Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of Slavery and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool.

Dr Sandy’s work has involved archival research in every former slave state in the southern United States looking at slavery, plantation management, resistance, free people of colour, voluntary enslavement, the theft of enslaved people and the laws of slavery. Her most recent work investigates the illegal trafficking of the enslaved in North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Thursday May 20 2021, 4pm BST

In our final webinar of the Spring in May we welcome Dr Jelmer Vos, Lecturer in Global History at the University of Glasgow. His research interests focus on Angola, the Atlantic slave trade, and commodity history in Africa.

Dr Vos was part of the team that developed the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, and he acted as consultant on the project to establish historical connections between ABN AMRO, a Dutch bank, and slavery in the Atlantic world.  His current book looks at the role of Angola in the global coffee economy, examining how Angolan robusta coffee became a global commodity, and how western demand for this product affected the lives of the Africans who produced it.