The Wilberforce Institute, part of the University of Hull, is based in Oriel Chambers, in the heart of Hull’s historic Old Town. The building, designed by the Victorian architect William Botterill, and leased to the University of Hull by Hull City Council, underwent major restoration before we opened our doors in 2006, ahead of the bicentenary celebration of the Slave Trade Abolition Act of 1807. Our Institute is named after William Wilberforce, Hull’s most famous son, who was instrumental in bringing about that abolition; he was born next door in Wilberforce House.

The Wilberforce Institute was created to study both historical slavery and contemporary forms of exploitation. We won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our research in 2016. Our team, led by our director Professor Trevor Burnard, consists of Institute staff, associates and postgraduate students. For their profiles please visit our official website here.

We work with a range of organisations to inform policy and practice, at local, national and international level. This includes governments and NGOs as well as businesses and community groups. If you would like to know more about our work or join us in the fight against exploitation please get in touch. You will find our contact details and an opportunity to send us your comments by clicking on the ‘Contact’ tab above.

What Others Say

“The Wilberforce Institute has become a world leader in the study and explication of slavery… I can think of few research institutes that have had more impact on our understanding of and response to a crucial problem facing Britain today.”

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Modern Slavery Bill Evidence Review