Bath and Colonialism Newspaper Project
How can archivists, curators, and heritage volunteers realistically approach addressing problematic and racist language?
Bath Abbey, Bath Record Office and Bath Preservation Trust have worked together following a grant received by The National Archives to research the Black presence in the city and Bath’s links to the transatlantic slave trade over a 20-year period. Volunteers searched for keywords relating to the profits and products of the slave trade from digitised copies of the Bath Chronicle from 1760 to 1780.
The problematic language we found in these articles led us to apply for funding to commission guidance on addressing derogatory language in historical collections. Our talk will introduce the project and this new guidance. We hope that this new document (called ‘Finding the Words’) will help archivists, curators, and volunteers begin to address racist legacies with sensitivity and honesty.
Anna Riggs manages the archives and museum collection at Bath Abbey. She has 25 years’ experience as an archivist and records manager, with a focus on collections management, digitisation, and cataloguing. She has worked for the Rothschild Collection, the Brunel Collection, and on the award-winning Connecting Histories project, a model of best practice in community engagement.
Polly Andrews is Learning Officer at Bath Abbey where she manages the school, family and community learning programmes. She has 20 years’ experience in education, both in heritage settings for the National Trust and Bath Preservation Trust, and as a Primary school teacher in London and Bath. She is a graduate of the Extend leadership programme run by Engage.
Dr Amy Frost is the Senior Curator of Bath Preservation Trust, which operates No.1 Royal Crescent, Beckford’s Tower & Museum, the Museum of Bath Architecture and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. An architectural historian, she specialises in British architecture of the 18th and early 19th centuries. She is a leading expert on the life and aesthetics of the British collector, writer, and owner of enslaved people William Beckford (1760–1844) and sits on the committee of the International Beckford Society. Amy is also a lecturer at the University of Bath, School of Architecture and a founder member of the not-for-profit Bath based organisation, Architecture is.
Izzy Wall is the Assistant Curator of Bath Preservation Trust, which operates No.1 Royal Crescent, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Beckford’s Tower & Museum, and the Museum of Bath Architecture. She has over 15 years’ experience working in museums, and has previously worked as the Collections Officer at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire.
Hannah Whittingham is currently holds the position of Project Archivist on Bath Record Office’s Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘Building a Healthier City 2: slum clearance, council housing and renovation in Bath, 1890–1995’. She has previously worked as the Assistant Archivist at Salisbury Cathedral and as the Cataloguing Co-ordinator for the Royal Voluntary Service Archive and Heritage Collection.
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