Category Archives: Events

Event: Emancipation Acts

Emancipation Acts is a series of site-specific performances in the Merchant City exploring Glasgow’s role in Caribbean slavery and its abolition. Directed by Alan McKendrick, inspired by an original idea from African Caribbean Cultures Glasgow and the book It Wisnae Us. 

Takes place on 1 August 2014.

Tickets free (and more details), here: 

See the African Caribbean Cultures Glasgow website for information of more activities.

There is also a related discussion entitled ‘Glasgow and the Caribbean: Slavery and Emancipation’ on Friday 1 August, 5pm Glasgow Green Live Zone – (venue The Playhouse). This one-hour event on Glasgow and Caribbean slavery will include presentations by historians Professor Sir Tom Devine (University of Edinburgh), Dr Karen Salt (University of Aberdeen) and Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow). Themes related to slavery, amnesia, compensation and reparations will be addressed including how this hidden history is being explored in various cultural events in Glasgow. This will be followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A session. The event will be chaired by Alan McKendrick, Writer / Director of Emancipation Acts. No tickets – first come, first served.


Bondage is Behind You

The Glasgow Women’s Library will be hosting two special walks for the Empire Cafe on Saturday 26 July and Monday 28 July at 2pm. They will show the links between women, slavery and the abolition movement through the streets of Glasgow.

More details on their website:

Tuesday 1 April 2014

The next meeting of the Colonial/Post-Colonial (POCO) group will be held in Room 205, 5 University Gardens at 17.00 on Tuesday 1st April 2014.

Our next speaker will be Rosie Spooner, who will be addressing: ‘Object Lessons: Changing Approaches to Imperial and Colonial Histories’.

Rosie Spooner is an early-career researcher, writer and curator originally from Toronto, and currently undertaking a Ph.D. in the History of Art department at the University of Glasgow. Looking at the material culture of colonial encounters, her doctoral research examines the movement of objects, people and ideas between England, Scotland and Canada through the mechanisms of the International Exhibition, exploring how these events functioned as sites where varied and complex colonial, national and imperial identities were propagated and performed. Her developing curatorial practice brings together historic and contemporary objects, artworks and exhibitionary models in an effort to re-frame these categories, issues which similarly underpin her academic research.

How have academics and commentators variously envisaged the British Empire, and how have approaches to researching and writing colonial and imperial histories shifted? Examining pieces of relevant historiography, this discussion is less concerned with historical findings and more centred on looking at how the subject or discipline of imperial studies has evolved. As well as tracing a kind of epistemological lineage, looking at key ideas, interpretations and arguments, I hope to share some of the approaches I am pursuing in my own research. Drawing on Ivan Gaskell’s contention that we are in the midst of a ‘tangible turn’ — a descendent of the linguistic and cultural turns before it — I consider how one can work with material culture, and draw on attendant methodologies, to further understandings of colonial, imperial and postcolonial histories. Central to my own research is a concern with what kinds of information material objects can reveal to the researcher, and how an analysis of their stories can contribute to existing areas of scholarship.

Recommended Readings:
– Antoinette Burton, ed., After the Imperial Turn: Thinking With and Through the Nation (Durham, NC.: Duke University Press, 2003). Particularly Burton’s introductory chapter.
– Sarah Longair and John McAleer, eds., Curating Empire: Museums and the British Imperial Experience (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012).
– Richard Price, “One Big Thing: Britain, Its Empire, and Their Imperial Culture,” Journal of British Studies 45, no. 3 (July 2006): 602–627.
– Nicholas Thomas, Colonialism’s Culture: Anthropology, Travel and Government (London: Polity Press, 1994).

Tuesday 4 March 2014

The next meeting of the Colonial/Post-Colonial (POCO) group will be held in Room 205, 5 University Gardens at 17.00 on Tuesday 4th March 2014.

Paul Sutton will speak on ‘Nationalism in the Caribbean: Symbol and Substance in the Long-View’.


Paul Sutton is an academic and consultant specialising in the study of the Caribbean and of small states and territories. He recently retired as Senior Professor in Caribbean Studies at the Caribbean Studies Centre of London Metropolitan University. His most recent books are Modernising the State: Public Sector Reform in the Commonwealth Caribbean (published by Ian Randle in 2006) and (with Kate Quinn) Politics and Power in Haiti (Palgrave Macmillan 2013).


‘The current debate on independence in Scotland has a nationalist dimension and there are parallels with the debates on nationalism and independence in the Caribbean. While the experience and discussion of nationalism in the Caribbean stretches back to the nineteenth century in the cases of Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, Paul will focus on the more recent Post-World War Two experiences of the Commonwealth Caribbean (the former colonies of the United Kingdom which gained their independence from 1962 onward).  Paul has engaged with nationalism in the Commonwealth Caribbean for some 40 years beginning with PhD research in Trinidad and Tobago in 1972. He will reflect on this period to arrive at some judgements on what nationalism means for the countries of this region today (and in consequence hopefully generate some thoughts on what it means for Scotland today). The term ‘symbol’ is shorthand for the values the original national leaders (now called the ‘founding fathers’ in many cases) hoped to create within their countries following independence.  I will set these out in general and then look a little deeper at several of them, especially Trinidad and Tobago where I had the experience of working with Dr Eric Williams, the ‘founding father’ of the country, on a collection of his speeches and writings just before his death in 1981. The term ‘substance’ addresses the policies chosen to express nationalist values and the outcomes of those policies. Paul will look at these in general and then focus in on how these have changed over the course of 40 years leading to a re-engagement with, or negation of, the nationalist values originally espoused. Paul will finish with a few observations on what nationalism means in the Commonwealth Caribbean today, particularly for the remaining British overseas territories who have an option to proceed to independence should they wish to do so’.

Tuesday 4 February 2014: Chris Dolan

The next meeting of the group will be held in Room 706 of the Adam Smith Building, Bute Gardens, University of Glasgow at 17.00 on Tuesday 4th February.

 *Please Note we have now changed locations from Lilybank House*

 Our speaker at this session is prominent Scottish author, Chris Dolan.

 Proposed discussion:

 ‘True stories? A writers’ instincts and dilemmas in telling stories about the past’.

 Speaker biography:

After working for CSV and UNESCO, Chris Dolan has been writing novels and short stories, television and radio drama and documentary, and theatre since 1992. He also teaches creative writing at Glasgow Caledonian University. His latest novel, Redlegs, is set among Scottish indentured workers in 19th century Caribbean. Barbado’ed (BBC 2009) is his documentary about those workers’ descendants. He is currently working on a new novel, a play for the Edinburgh Festival, and a radio adaptation.