Long Term Support for Survivors of Modern Slavery: The Importance of Modern Slavery Champions Within Organisations

Tuesday 11 October 2022, 08.45am onwards

Aura Innovation Centre,

Meadow Road

Kingston upon Hull

HU13 0GD

The Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull, in collaboration with the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership and national partners invite you to our upcoming free one-day conference ‘Long Term Support for Survivors of Modern Slavery – The Importance of Modern Slavery Champions Within Organisations’.

The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 40.3 million people trapped in some form of slavery around the globe today. In the UK, 12,727 people were officially identified as potential victims of modern slavery in 2021. Slavery and trafficking are crimes punishable by severe penalties, yet the problem remains and is growing. Providing long term support to victims and survivors of slavery and trafficking is vital in helping people make lasting and meaningful recoveries, to avoid further trauma and re-exploitation, and in some cases to support prosecutions against their exploiters. Access to support services for victims of slavery and trafficking in the UK is provided through the National Referral Mechanism [NRM]. People who are referred into the NRM are entitled to a range of support services such as accommodation, financial assistance, counselling, or help accessing legal advice.

However, research shows us that there is a distinct lack of understanding of what support people need once they have exited this provision or indeed why they sometimes choose to decline any offer of support in the first place.

This one-day conference at the Aura Innovation Centre brings together new empirical research findings by leading academics, stories from survivors, and experts working in policing and victim support to explore and discuss the importance of having skilled professionals in key positions within organisations who can work with victims to improve their long-term outcomes.

Over the course of the day, you will hear from our expert academic and professional speakers on their research findings and the real-world strategies they use to engage and safeguard victims with a focus on agency and identity.

You will take part in interactive workshops, working with colleagues to discuss and develop new approaches you can apply in your own organisation. The day will end with a panel session giving you an opportunity to pose questions to our speakers.

Confirmed Speakers

Professor Simon Green and Dr Nicola O’Leary, University of Hull – Reclaiming the Narrative: Victims reframing victimology. Empirical research findings

DC Colin Ward, Modern Slavery Unit, Manchester Police – Safeguarding victims in policing

Richard Eastwood, Justice and Care, embedded in Essex Police – The role of victim navigators

Major Kathy Betteridge, Director Anti Trafficking & Modern Slavery, The Salvation Army – ‘We are not for sale’, the role of the Salvation Army

Jen Nghishitende, University of Hull, PHD research – “Freedom is a constant struggle”: Women’s journeys after modern slavery in the United Kingdom

About the venue

This is a free event hosted by the University of Hull in a unique and state of the art venue. The Aura Innovation Centre is located at the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary, in one of the greenest business parks in the country – Bridgehead in Hessle, East Yorkshire. On track to receive a BREEAM Excellent rating for its design, construction, and materials sourced through local supply chains, the Innovation Centre is in the top 10% of UK new non-domestic buildings. And, with an A-rated Energy Performance Certificate the AIC outperforms most new, similar buildings.

Registration and Dietary Requirements

Click here to register for this free one-day event.

Lunch and refreshments are provided. Vegan and vegetarian options are available but please let us know in advance if you have any specific dietary requirements by emailing our interns Sophie and Megan.



Programme of Public Lectures at the Wilberforce Institute, Autumn 2022

This year we have moved our lectures to a Wednesday afternoon to avoid clashes with the University teaching schedule. We hope you will be able to join us in our lovely building at 27 High Street, Hull, to hear what our speakers have to say. However, if you are unable to make it to the Institute, specific links for those who would like to stream online will be made available as each talk approaches.  These can be found by clicking on the ‘Events’ tab of our blog.

For more details of how to sign up to stream lectures, or directions to the Institute, please contact Beki Bloomfield at R.Bloomfield@hull.ac.uk

The full programme of lectures for Autumn and Spring 2022-23 is available on the ‘Event Programme’ tab, and I will be providing more information about the Spring lectures in our annual programme early next year.

In this blog I want to draw your attention to the three public lectures – on very different topics – that we have on offer this autumn.  

We begin, as usual, with our Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture, on Wednesday October 12 at 5.30pm.

For those of you who don’t know, the Lecture was created in the early 1970s by Sydney Smith, a well-known local councillor who devoted a good part of his adult life to the city of Hull. Having been first elected to Hull City Council in 1923, he served almost continuously on the Council until 1942, taking on the role of Lord Mayor in 1940. When he retired from the Council some two decades later, he was made an Honorary Alderman for life. His initial financial bequest was intended to support a four-year lecture series only, but this was converted into a perpetual endowment through a trust fund. If you are interested in knowing more about Sydney and his life you can read Mike Turner’s two-part blog, here and here.

The Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture now kicks off our series of annual lectures, and is the highlight of our annual lecture programme.  We are lucky enough to have been able to attract some very prestigious speakers over the years, and this year is no different. Professor Matthew Smith is currently Director of the Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership at University College London, where he is also Professor of History. He worked for several years before that at the University of the West Indies.

His research is pan-Caribbean in scope with a special interest in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century histories of Haiti and Jamaica. His publications, which are numerous and wide-ranging, include Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict and Political Change, 1934-1957 (2009) and Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica After Emancipation (2014) Among his current research projects is a study of the representations and legacies of the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica in 1865, and a social history of Jamaican popular music since the 1950s. 

Professor Smith was also involved in the ESRC/AHRC-funded project, Caribbean Foodscapes, which led to him becoming the Chair of the Advisory Group for an AHRC-funded project using historical approaches to research food systems to meet contemporary challenges.

In this talk, Professor Smith turns his attention and ours to the pressing matter of teaching slavery, as he discusses ‘Righting History: Why Teaching Slavery Matters’. His presentation will address some of the approaches, comments, and conflicting narratives of the history of slavery and abolition that have emerged in public spaces in recent years. This will be framed by a discussion on the history of the teaching of Caribbean slavery since the foundational work of Eric Williams in 1944 and the establishment of the University of the West Indies History department in the 1950s. It will also contrast educational imperatives on teaching slavery in the Caribbean and the UK generally, and the current demands of a younger generation for new approaches to how we teach and talk about slavery in the twenty-first century. 

For those of you who would like to stream, please register here.

On Wednesday November 9 at 4.30pm we welcome Dr Jim Powell, Honorary Research Associate in the Department of History at the University of Liverpool, who has been ploughing a very different slavery furrow – he has recently published a study of Britain’s raw cotton trade in the nineteenth century.

Taking his title and material from that book, Losing the Thread – Cotton, Liverpool and the American Civil War, Dr Powell will talk about the effect of the American Civil War on Britain’s raw cotton trade and on the Liverpool cotton market. Before the civil war, America supplied 80 per cent of Britain’s cotton. In August 1861, this fell to almost zero, where it remained for four years. Despite increased supplies from elsewhere, Britain’s largest industry received only 36 per cent of the raw material it needed from 1862 to 1864.

Losing the Thread feels very timely, given the current supply constraints that the war between Russia and Ukraine has created. Dr Powell’s book establishes the facts of Britain’s raw cotton supply during the war: how much there was of it, in absolute terms and in relation to the demand, where it came from and why, how much it cost, and what impact the reduced supply had on Britain’s cotton manufacture. It includes an enquiry into the causes of the Lancashire cotton famine, which contradicts the historical consensus on the subject. Examining the impact of the civil war on Liverpool and its cotton market, the book disputes the historic portrayal of Liverpool as a solidly pro-Confederate town. It also demonstrates how reckless speculation infested and distorted the raw cotton market, and lays bare the shadowy world of the Liverpool cotton brokers, who profited hugely from the war while the rest of Lancashire starved.

For those of you who would like to stream, please register here.

For our final talk of 2022, at 4.30pm on Wednesday December 7, we shift gear again, welcoming Dr Lucy Mayblin, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Mayblin in a Political Sociologist. Her researchcentres on the politics of asylum, particularly in Britain, and has included explorations of the connections between Britain’s colonial past and asylum policy today. In 2020 Lucy won one of the Philip Leverhulme Prizes for Sociology and from September 2021 has been working on an archival project on the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees, and a contemporary exploration of the international spread of ‘crimes of solidarity’ (where citizens are punished for helping irregular migrants).

Dr Mayblin is the author of Asylum After Empire: Postcolonial Legacies in the Politics of Asylum Seeking (2017) which won the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Memorial Prize in 2018, and Impoverishment and Asylum: Social Policy as Slow Violence (2019). She is on the advisory board of the Connected Sociologies Curriculum Project.

The title of her talk is ‘Criminal assistance: Understanding Crimes of Solidarity’. Over the past 20-30 years a shift has taken place in the way European, and Western states more broadly, understand asylum seeking. Asylum migration has ceased to be understood as primarily a humanitarian phenomenon, and it has come to be thought of a primarily a phenomenon of economic migration. Steps have accordingly been taken to prevent would-be asylum seekers from arriving in their territories, and to limit their rights if they do manage to arrive. This has inevitably led to the illegalisation of movement, particularly the movement of people who are seeking sanctuary. But the inhospitable actions of states have been countered by moves by a diverse range of citizens and other residents to help ‘irregular’ migrants. For example, by saving them from drowning in the sea, perishing in mountains or deserts, offering them shelter, food, showers, lifts or other acts of support such as documenting border violence. In response, states are increasingly seeking to criminalise these helpers, particularly by casting them as smugglers. This talk will discuss the emergence of what have been dubbed ‘crimes of solidarity’, how we can understand this phenomenon, and where the research gaps are in scholarly work on this topic.

For those of you who would like to stream, please register here.

I hope I have whetted your appetite for intellectual stimulation, but if there is anything else you would like to know please get in touch with me at Judith.Spicksley@hull.ac.uk or Beki at the email address above. We look forward to welcoming you in person or online.  

Programme of Spring Lectures at the Wilberforce Institute, 2022

Dr Chloe Wilson, Lecturer in Law, Lincoln Law School and Tom Hammond, PhD student at the University of Hull

We have a packed programme of lectures for Spring 2022, and hope you will join us in our lovely building at 27 High Street, Hull, to hear what our speakers have to say.  A general overview of the programme is given below, and specific links for those who would like to stream online will be available as each talk approaches.  These can be found by clicking on the ‘Events’ tab of our blog.  For more details of how to sign up to stream lectures please contact Beki Bloomfield (R.Bloomfield@hull.ac.uk). The full programme of events is also available on the ‘Event Programme’ tab.

We begin with our regular ‘What’s going on at the Wilberforce Institute’ spot on Thursday 10 February at 4pm. This year we have Dr Chloe Wilson, who submitted her thesis in February last year, and Tom Hammond (T.Hammond-2017@hull.ac.uk), who is in the final throes of his dissertation. Chloe’s research looked at the identification and treatment of human trafficking victims, while Tom has been examining surveillance, migration and identity in Brexit Britain.

In March we have three public lectures on offer.  On Thursday March 3 (4-5.30pm GMT) we are excited to welcome Dr Bruce Ragsdale, former director of the US Federal Judicial History Office, who is coming to talk to us about his recent book, Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery. Dr Ragsdale will discuss how Washington’s management of enslaved agricultural labour expands the more familiar biography of the revolutionary general and first president.

On Thursday March 17 (4-5.30pm GMT) we are delighted to welcome back Dr Filipa Ribeiro da Silva, Senior Researcher at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, who worked as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Wilberforce Institute between 2009 and 2012. Her current research interests focus on the history of population, labour, migration and trade in Sub-Saharan Africa during the pre-colonial and colonial periods. She has also been involved in the translation of Inquisition materials, recently published as African Voices from the Inquisition.

On Thursday March 24 (4-5.30pm GMT) we are thrilled to welcome Dr Lucy Mayblin  (@LucyMayblin) Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield, who will be talking on the subject of ‘Criminal assistance: Understanding Crimes of Solidarity’. Dr Mayblin’s research focuses on asylum, human rights, policy-making, and the legacies of colonialism, and her latest book, with Joe Turner, is Migration Studies and Colonialism (2021). She was recently awarded the UK Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research achievements in the area of asylum and migration.

In April we have two talks. At the first, on Thursday April 7 (4-5.30pm BST), we are delighted to host one of our Honorary Fellows, Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty, who will talk to us on ‘Tales of the Enslaved in Jamaica, 1756’. This paper comes from a wider project based on a cache of letters sent from Jamaica to Britain that forms the basis of her forthcoming book.

At the second, on Thursday April 28 (4-5.30pm BST) we are thrilled that Professor Geraldine van Bueren QC, is coming to discuss ‘Class Discrimination and Children’s Rights’. Professor Van Bueren QC held the Chair of International Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London and is Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford. She is a member of Doughty Street Chambers and was appointed an honorary Queen’s Counsel in recognition of her contributions to national and international law. 

Finally, we are excited to round off our programme of Spring Lectures with a talk on Thursday May 12 (4-5.30pm BST) by Dr Virginia Morrow, Visiting Professor at University College London. Dr Morrow will summarise 15 years of research findings on changing trends in children’s work from the Young Lives study, an international study of childhood poverty following the lives of 12,000 children in four countries (Ethiopia, India in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam (www.younglives.org.uk).

Public lecture: A British family’s legacy of slave ownership, and its relevance today

Thursday 4 November 2021

4.00-5.30PM GMT

Wilberforce Institute, 27 High Street, Hull. HU1 1NE

Or join us by livestreaming on Microsoft Teams. Please click here to register and receive a link.

For other information contact R.Bloomfield@hull.ac.uk          

Cecile Oxaal: Alex Renton: Karen Okra

This talk will be given by Alex Renton, author of Blood Legacy: Reckoning With a Family’s Story of Slavery, and will include contributions from Cecile Oxaal and Karen Okra, who will both share details of their own family histories.

Alex’s ancestors were prominent Scots who were also slave holders in Tobago and Jamaica. In the excerpt below, Alex reflects on what he decided to do when skeletons fell out of his family cupboard. As he notes, it’s not easy to stuff them back in. When they’re 150 years old, and more, you might think they represent what police drama calls a cold case. But often the old crimes turn out to have much more relevance today than first appears.

Alex’s family’s cupboard was an archive store-room in the old house in Scotland where his grandparents lived. His grandfather was a historian, in charge of Scotland’s national archive for twenty years. At home he carefully curated the family’s own papers, which went back to the seventeenth century. Several of his books on Scottish history were based on them. But in the great mass of letters, diaries and accounts was a story that he never got around to telling, or that he decided was best left untold.

‘Like many old families in Britain, we grew up with a legend of our ancestors’ essential goodness. The men whose pictures hung on the walls of the old house had played their role in the management of the best empire the world had ever known, we learnt: a benevolent machine for civilising the greater part of the globe. But there was another, less pride-inducing side of the story. The first I knew of it was seeing, in my grandfather’s catalogue of the papers, the words ‘Tobago’ and ‘Jamaica’, again and again. His own grandfather had been a third generation plantation-owner: he had received £1.5 million in government compensation money in 1833 at abolition for ‘giving up’ the 198 enslaved people in Jamaica.

My family has glossed over this history, as my education did, as Britain has. This denial – of the 3.25 million Africans who were enslaved and transported, of the generations that were exploited and abused afterwards, and of what the 12% of GDP slavery-related industries meant to Britain in the early 1800s – is a crime that still toxifies Britain today.

It also acts to deny that the racism and inequality that afflicts our 21st century country has its roots in the story of British slavery and colonialism. I believe it is right for people like me, with the privilege of access to this history, and as beneficiaries of the wealth of slavery, to acknowledge it today. We cannot change the history, but – as Sir Geoff Palmer, campaigner in Scotland for acknowledgement of the country’s history in enslavement puts it – ‘we can still change the consequences’.

Alex will be joined by Cecil Oxaal who will talk about her family history, one of mixed heritage from wealthy white slaveholders. Karen Okra will also be sharing her family heritage. Together our speakers will offer three different but equally interesting perspectives on people in Britain with Caribbean histories.

For more information about Alex’s book go to www.bloodlegacybook.com

The Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture – a brief history (Part II)

Part II: the end of the first phase of the Annual Lecture and its later re-inauguration

Emeritus Professor Michael E. Turner,

Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull.


Tonight Professor Douglas Hamilton of Sheffield Hallam University will give our Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture. If you haven’t yet signed up you can do so here where you will also find details of the lecture. Having given us the first part of his brief history of the lecture last week, Emeritus Professor Michael Turner concludes this week with a discussion of the end of its first phase, and its later re-inauguration.

Sydney Smith died in 1984 at the age of 99, but the annual lecture he founded in 1972 continued for another four years before coming at that point to an abrupt end. In October 1988 the Department of Economic and Social History was looking forward to welcoming Arthur Marwick, the flamboyant professor from the Open University, to deliver a talk, but he never came.

The 1980s saw quite considerable debate and sometimes unrest in the University sector. Many universities embarked on radical restructuring programmes in order to embrace some of the new technologies and subject areas that society would demand in the future. More traditional areas of learning came under attack as intellectual knowledge was no longer valued for its own sake. Universities embraced different ways to confront the more targeted funding provided by the conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher. More specialisation took place, for example, and the activities of so-called fringe subjects, especially languages, were discontinued. Members of staff moved to other universities where central funding for their activities was increased. The University of Hull lost Classics, Scandinavian Studies, Dutch Studies, and Russian, and in the sciences the Physics Department was lost. Some of these activities did return, but with much reduced activity. It was the attack on Philosophy which led to the redundancy of a specific lecturer, but it also served to ignite the fuse of revolt. Redundancy was not a word easily applied to the University sector and Hull became the first or at least the most prominent University to declare a redundancy. In consequence the AUT, the national Association of University Teachers, rallied to Hull’s cause and a boycott of all activity at Hull was declared. The impact was considerable. The University found it very difficult to recruit external examiners not only for undergraduate degrees but also to examine research theses. Colleagues were no longer invited to speak at external events, and external speakers cancelled their visits to Hull. Most significantly for our story here, Arthur Marwick cancelled his invitation to give the Annual Sydney Smith Lecture.

For whatever reason, the lecture was not reinstated once order had been restored, though the income from its investments grew nicely during the years of double-digit interest rates. In 2001 the Department of Economic and Social History was amalgamated with History. From 2004, however, the Wilberforce Institute began to take shape, under the three ‘WISE’ men who founded it, David Richardson, Michael (Mike) Turner and Gary Craig; it opened its doors late in 2006.  Mike and David had both worked in the old Department of Economic and Social History, and so in 2009 they negotiated with the University to release the Alderman Sydney Smith endowment specifically to the Wilberforce Institute in order to re-inaugurate the lecture. It was a perfect match, a lecture in social and labour history but specifically devoted to slavery and all its exploitative labour connotations. To make this rebirth something to be remembered, the distinguished American historian, Professor Seymour Drescher, was invited from Pittsburgh in 2010. His credentials included books on slavery, antislavery, abolition and most controversially his Econocide: British Slavery in the Era of Abolition (1977).

Later speakers included Professors Marcus Wood in 2011, Philip D. Morgan in 2012, Catherine Hall in 2013 and Verene A. Shepherd in 2014. In 2018, we welcomed Professor Jean Allain, a scholar of international law who helped draft the Bellagio Harvard Guidelines on the Legal Parameters of Slavery. Two of our former Directors have also given lectures – Professors David Richardson in 2016, and John Oldfield in 2020.

Over the years, the lecture has moved between the University Campus and the Wilberforce Institute. Last year Covid-19 forced John Oldfield to deliver his lecture using a virtual format, but this year we are planning once again to hold the Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture in the Institute, with live-streaming of Professor Hamilton’s talk for those who cannot make it. We would be delighted to welcome you in person or inline.

Reproduced by kind permission of Hull History Centre


A21: Walk for Freedom in Hull

Saturday 16 October 2021, 11am

Sarah Colley, PhD student

Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull.


Walk in single file! Quietly! Wear black!

Aren’t these the kind of instructions often given in schools?

Perhaps on occasion, but on Saturday October 16th this is the guidance we will be adopting on the Walk for Freedom, which is taking place this year in Hull for the first time. A21, the charity behind the walk, describe it as a silent protest against contemporary slavery. Its aim is to raise awareness that slavery still exists.

Those of us working or studying at the Wilberforce Institute strongly believe in social justice and the principle of freedom for all. Being next door to the birthplace of William Wilberforce, I have been constantly reminded that millions of people are still living in situations of contemporary slavery, such as forced labour, sexual exploitation, debt bondage and forced marriage. So, what can we as individuals do, when it feels that any action we take won’t make much of a difference to the 40 million people estimated to be in some form of slavery today?

Well, on one of A21’s awareness cards, it says “when we show up for the freedom of others, we show up for the world we want to see. A world where justice, human dignity, and freedom prevails. Your steps matter. Your voice matters. For those enslaved in your city, and around the world.” By walking here, or in a city close to us, or even by taking up A21’s virtual challenge, we can all play a part in learning more about slavery. And by having more discussions on the topic, by more people learning what to look out for and how to report it, I would argue we can all play our part.

We’d love to have you join us on the Hull walk, and this is not just a local event –  we will be joining with people in walks organised in over 50 countries, in hundreds of locations across the world, all on the same day. So, what do you need to know about the Hull walk? I will try and answer the most common questions below, but feel free to email me if you have any other queries: s.e.colley-2013@hull.ac.uk

Where is the walk taking place?

We will be following a historic route around Hull, starting from the Wilberforce Monument and walking down Humber Street, along the marina, across the new Murdoch connection bridge, and through the city centre. Our walk will end in Queens Gardens, where Wilberforce will be atop his 90-foot column, looking down on us as we finish.

What time are we walking?

We are starting the walk at 11am and as it is a 2-mile route, it will take us around an hour to walk it. We are suggesting that everyone registers online, via the A21 website before October 16th, but we will be able to register people on the day, if preferred. Registration will be open by 10am.

Who is supporting the walk?

Raising awareness is always a team effort and huge thanks need to go to the amazing support offered by my colleagues and friends at the Freedom Festival, the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership and of course, those at the Wilberforce Institute. We are all passionate about doing whatever we can to raise awareness of the topic.

More about A21

For more information on A21, please have a look at their website: https://www.a21.org/ where you can read more about the charity and the work they do, and also find information on the walk and this year’s virtual challenges.

If you are concerned that someone might be held in slavery, forced labour or being exploited in other ways, you can always call the Police (999 or 111, depending on whether it is an emergency or not) or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700 or you can report or contact them online.

Hope to see you on October 16th!

Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture: Enslaved revolt and the Royal Navy in the Caribbean, c. 1790-1832

Thursday 14 October 2021, 5.30PM – 7.30PM BST

Wilberforce Institute, 27, High Street, Hull. HU1 1NE

Or join us by livestreaming on Microsoft Teams

Professor Douglas Hamilton

Sheffield Hallam University


This year our Alderman Sydney Smith Annual Lecture will be given by Douglas Hamilton, Professor of History at Sheffield Hallam University. He is an historian of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic empire, with a particular interest in the Caribbean and slavery. He is currently working on two projects. The first is ‘An empire of islands’ funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council which explores how islands contributed to the establishment, extension, and maintenance of the British Empire in the Age of Sail. The second project assesses the role of the Royal Navy in eighteenth-century Caribbean society.

For this lecture, Professor Hamilton will focus on this second project, and he offers an abstract below of what he intends to cover.

While the actions of foreign navies and enemy privateers occupied the minds of naval officers, one of the gravest threats to the security of the British colonies in the Caribbean came from within. For a generation or more scholars have placed considerable emphasis on what Hilary Beckles has called ‘the 200-years war’ against enslavement, highlighting the role of the enslaved in their struggle for self-liberation. The actions of the Royal Navy as an instrument of the state to be used in suppressing revolt have received much less attention. Yet in virtually every major rising across the British Caribbean from the mid-18th century, the Royal Navy was instrumental in securing victory for the colonial elite. The existing scholarship currently highlights the ways in which the navy blurred the lines between enslavement and emancipation and provided routes into freedom; this lecture makes plain the extent to which it helped Britain and the Caribbean planter class face down challenges to the system of enslavement.

For details of how to get to the Institute, or to livestream this event contact R.Bloomfield@hull.ac.uk

Adolphe Duperly (1833): Destruction of the Roehampton Estate in 1832.

Conference: Modern Slavery and Climate Change

Monday 11 October 2021

Climate change and modern slavery are elements of a vicious circle. Natural disasters and slow degradation of the environment destroy traditional livelihoods and push people towards hazardous and exploitative work. Meanwhile, these exploitative and unregulated industries are often extremely polluting and high emitters of CO2.

This free online event, hosted by the Wilberforce Institute in partnership with Anti-Slavery International, brings together researchers and practitioners from around the globe to share their experiences and solutions to this vicious circle.

Join us online on 11 October 2021 by registering for your free ticket at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/158716331821

Those taking part include speakers from Rainforest Alliance, Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, Rights Lab, Fundación Libera, International Institute for Environment and Development, and Confederación Nacional de Mujeres indígenas de Bolivia, among others.

Wilberforce Institute Debate: The Impact of Brexit – has this increased or decreased the risk of labour exploitation and modern slavery in the UK?

Tuesday 21 September 2021, 4PM – 6PM BST

As issues about the supply of goods and pharmaceuticals begin to bite in the wake of Brexit, Cristina Talens, Head of Business Risk Assessment Services in the Wilberforce Institute, will lead a major discussion about the impact of Brexit on labour exploitation and modern slavery. This webinar introduces a panel of experts, listed below, who are working at the forefront of identifying and tackling exploitative practices on the ground today.

Dame Sara Thornton – UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and chair of the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit Leadership Advisory Board. Dame Sara was Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police from 2007-2015 and the first Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 2015-2019

Melville Miles – Head of Human Rights (Greencore) and Board Member of the Food Network for Ethical Trade

Darryl Dixon – Head of Gangmasters Licensing Authority single enforcement body

Shayne Tyler – Group Compliance Director at Fresca Group and Anti-Slavery Network Director

David Camp – Chief Executive of allianceHR Ltd and the Association of Labour Providers Ltd

This is not a discussion between academics. Cristina has assembled a stellar panel of experts from a diverse range of backgrounds from the Anti-Slavery Commissioner to police enforcement and experts in the areas of ethical trade and supply chains. Our speakers will be talking about the impact of Brexit on labour in the UK and the new risks companies need to be aware of with the sourcing of labour.

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


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Wilberforce Institute Debate: Slavery in Massachusetts

Thursday 22 July 2021, 4PM – 6PM BST

Slavery was important everywhere in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world, including in places like Massachusetts where the numbers of enslaved people were relatively small and the colonial economy was not directly based on enslavement. Slavery had been legally sanctioned in 1641, but just over a century later, according to the Massachusetts government’s own website, the population of the enslaved may have constituted little more than 2 percent of the total population.

What has drawn the recent attention of scholars however is not the number of the enslaved or their economic roles. The topic of Native American and African American slavery in Massachusetts has flourished following a series of important articles and books on a range of issues, from the rise and fall of slavery in Boston, to the life and works of Phillis Wheatley, the African American poet, to the question of why emancipation occurred, when it took place and how it happened during the American Revolution. This webinar introduces some of the major scholars who are contributing to this dynamic field – Jared Hardesty, Gloria McCahon Whiting and Margaret Newell – along with commentary from two very distinguished historians of New England and Canada – Mark Peterson and Charmaine Nelson. The speakers will reveal how important the question of slavery was in Massachusetts, despite the small number of the enslaved, and outline a range of historical opinion on slavery and emancipation in this fascinating British colony and American state.

Jared Hardesty
Gloria McCahon Whiting
Margaret Newell
Charmaine Nelson
Mark Peterson

To sign up for the webinar please click on the link below:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

First slaves arrive in Massachusetts. Image at https://www.massmoments.org/moment-details/first-slaves-arrive-in-massachusetts.html