Give your vote to Nottingham Slave Trade Legacies project

A project investigating slave trade legacies in Britain, co-run by The University of Nottingham, is appealing for public votes after successfully reaching the finals of the National Lottery Awards 2016.

Slave Trade Legacies: The Colour of Money, which is a partnership between the School of Geography and Bright Ideas Nottingham, a social enterprise, is hoping to be crowned the UK’s favourite National Lottery-funded heritage project.

Heritage sites with links to slavery

The project explores the extent to which UK heritage visitor attractions acknowledge their links to the transatlantic slave trade – the forced migration of 12-15 million people from Africa to work in the then-Western American colonies from the mid-15th century to the end of the 1800s.

Slave Trade Legacies, which has run for more than nine months, received £9,700 of National Lottery funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project worked with a team of volunteers who are largely, though not exclusively, of African-Caribbean heritage and were given training from expert facilitators to analyse venues with well-known or hidden links to slavery, including nearby Newstead Abbey and cotton mills in the Derwent Valley, Derbyshire. They also explored how their own ancestors, and those of others in the Black community in Britain, have contributed to the material wealth of the UK, including the wealth of specific families and businesses, such as the landowning Wildman family of Newstead Abbey, the Liverpool merchants, the Tarletons and the cotton-spinners of the Derwent Valley.

Showcasing findings

To document and share their findings with the public; volunteers took to social media; contributed to a blog; made a live radio broadcast on 97.5 Kemet FM and produced a short film featuring local people, screened at the Broadway Cinema.

The project also teamed up with Dr Susanne Seymour who runs The University of Nottingham’s Global Cotton Connections project (funded by the AHRC) which explored how raw cotton vital to the development of the British textile industry, and grown on slave plantations in places including the Caribbean, assisted the growth of material wealth in Britain.

Dr Seymour, from the School of Geography, who was also an academic contributor to the Heritage Lottery-funded Slave Trade Legacies work, said: “I’m delighted that The Colour of Money project has gone on to receive national recognition through the National Lottery Awards. Volunteers from the project were linked into many of the activities of Global Cotton Connections. One of the project legacies is that the group were able to influence the interpretation of the Gateway Visitor Centre for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site at Cromford Mills in Derbyshire. This has ensured that this key industrial heritage site clearly states the fact that cotton used in the mills was picked by enslaved African people.”

Reaching the finals

Slave Trade Legacies beat off stiff competition from more than 600 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards and is one of only seven projects from across the UK to make the final of the Heritage category.

Winners are to be announced at a star-studded awards ceremony in London, broadcast on BBC One in September. Along with the kudos, winners of each of the seven categories will receive a £3,000 cash prize to spend on their own project, alongside a prestigious National Lottery Awards trophy.

University of Nottingham connections

Project coordinators for Slave Trade Legacies are Lisa Robinson, Director of Social Enterprise, Bright Ideas Nottingham, and Helen Bates of the University of Leicester and both are University of Nottingham alumni.

Lisa qualified as a teacher and trainer in continuing education and Helen Bates has an MA in Local and Regional History. Lisa recently joined the University’s board for the Centre of Research in Race and Rights.

Lisa says winning the accolade and having their work showcased on national television would be an honour. “It’s easy to vote so we’re hoping people support us, and it would be a fantastic reward for all the volunteers involved to receive national recognition for their commitment.”

TV star John Barrowman, who will present the National Lottery Awards for the sixth time this year, said: “Your local project has worked very hard to become a finalist and they now need your support because the project with the most votes in each category will be crowned winner.

“Projects, such as Slave Trade Legacies: The Colour of Money, receive funding thanks to National Lottery players who raise £36m every single week for good causes across the UK.”

Vote now

Vote for Slave Trade Legacies: The Colour of Money online or by phoning 0844 8369675. You can also vote on Twitter using the hashtags #NLAwards #Vote.

Voting runs until midnight on Wednesday 20 July.

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