Blood Legacies: Confronting our Colonial Past

Blood Legacies: Confronting our Colonial Past

When the statue of Edward Colston was symbolically toppled from a plinth, dragged through the streets of Bristol and hauled into the River Avon last year, historian Professor Olivette Otele said, ‘It was like, finally, finally something is happening that is forcing people to reconsider’. Last year’s Black Lives Matter protests focused the world’s eyes on the ongoing, systematic racism experienced by people of colour across the globe. It seems almost inconceivable that, until then, statues and street names of prominent slavers simply resided placidly in our cities and towns uncontested. Except they had been contested. For decades, historians and activists campaigned against these monuments – which for many glorify the violence, oppression and exploitation underpinning our ‘enlightened civilisation’. What, if anything, has changed? This series explores how the West’s traditional narratives around race and colonialism are increasingly agreed to be toxic and unacceptable, and the legacies such rhetoric continues to have for people in Scotland, the UK and across the world today.

124 years ago, the British government sent 1,200 soldiers and sailors to invade the Kingdom of Benin in West Africa. This was just one of many so-called 'Punitive Expeditions' launched across the continent by the British Empire. Benin’s soldiers,...

Damon Galgut: Ghosts of Apartheid

Monday 23 August 19:15 - 20:15

South African novelist Damon Galgut has already had two novels shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Could The Promise go a step further? That’s certainly what the critics are suggesting in their glowing reviews of this latest offering. Like his other...

Sathnam Sanghera: How Imperialism Shapes Modern Britain

Tuesday 24 August 14:30 - 15:30

When we studied history at school, how much of the curriculum was devoted to learning about the British Empire? In Cambridge-educated journalist Sathnam Sanghera’s case, very little. Having grown up as part of the Sikh community in Wolverhampton, he...

Emma Dabiri: Beyond the Anti-Racism 'How To' Guide

Saturday 28 August 13:00 - 14:00

The murder of George Floyd, the powerful resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the imperative for white people to interrogate personal privilege led to a number of books about anti-racism being at the top of the bestseller lists in 2020....

Gavin Esler & Samir Puri: Brexit, Britain and the Legacy of Empire

Saturday 28 August 16:00 - 17:00

BSL Interpreted
What is the future for the United Kingdom as a political entity? And how has the end of the British Empire influenced its trajectory in recent years? A former BBC journalist and a senior political strategist spend today’s event discussing some...