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Personal profile

Research interests

I was Associate Professor of History at the University of the West of England until 2016 when I retired and was made a Hon. Research Fellow. Since 2016 I have been appointed as an Hon. Professor of History with the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol.

My research interests are the History of Atlantic Slavery, History of ethnic minorities in Britain, slavery and memory, gender history and pubic history. I have published widely in these areas and have worked as a consultant for Museums and public bodies such as the National archives.

My publications include 

“Slavery and the British Country House ” for Treasure Houses of Britain Revisited forthcoming book edited by David Canadine and Jeremy  Musson ( New York:Rizzoli, 2018)

“The elusive Lady Apsley: rethinking a post war M.P.” in Women’s History Review (2019)

Slavery and the British Country House, co-edited Edited With Andrew Hann (London: English Heritage 2013)

Black and White on the Buses: the campaign against the colour bar in BristolBristol: Bristol Broadsides (1987, Bristol City Council:2007, new edition  (Bristol: Tangent Press 2013)

“Politics,Populism or Professionalism? Reflections on the Role of the Academic  Historian in the Production of Public History," , The Public Historian,  Vol. 32, no. 3; (August 2010)pp.39-63. (UCSB)

 ‘Remembering Slavery and Abolition in Bristol’,.  Slavery & Abolition, Volume 30, Number 2, (June 2009) , pp. 223-246

‘Set in Stone? Statues and Slavery in London’, History Workshop Journal 64, (Autumn 2007), pp. 162-199.

 Bristol: Ethnic Minorities and the City c. 1000-2001 (London: Phillimore Press with Institute of Historical Research, University of London With Peter Fleming),  (2007, reprinted 2009)

Slavery Obscured: The Social History of the Slave Trade in an English Provincial Port c. 1698-c.1833 ,(Continuum Books: London, 2001),  242pp. Reprinted  as The Social History of the Slave Trade in an English Provincial Port c. 1698-c.1833(Redcliffe Press, Bristol 2007), 242 pages

 ‘Obliteration, contextualisation or ‘guerrilla memorialisation’? Edward Colston’s statue reconsidered’ https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/madge-dresser/obliteration-contextualisation-or-guerrilla-memorialisation-edward-colst  (August 2016)

“ Thomas Daniel” and “Sarah Guppy” for Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2016)

“Statues are all the Rage:  the Rhodes Statue Controversy” for the online Journal for the Royal Institute of British Architects (May 2016) https://www.ribaj.com/culture/rhodes-must-fall-campaign

committees and have spoken at many community and public events

2009  Co-organized with English Heritage and the National Trust, ‘Slavery and the British Country House: Mapping the Current Research’ a conference held at the London School of Economics                                            

2010 Organized International Research Symposium on “The British Somali Diaspora in Context’, Bristol,.

2010 Organized public conference for community activists and policy providers on ‘Who are Bristol’s Somalis?’Bristol

2013 Participant in artist Suzanne Lacy’s performance ‘Silver Action’ in The Tanks at Tate Modern.

2012 and 2013 Invited to address National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement [NCCPE]2012-2014 2012-2014 Speaker at the Bath Literary Festival and the Brighton Literary Festival

2010-2014 Speaker at various Sixth Form Conferences and young people’s projects

2014  Interview re Slavery and Popular Memory in the Sunday Observer 14 July 2014

2015 Invited to lead public guided tour of personal selection of paintings at Tate Britain

Panellist on University of Bristol’s InsideArts: Moving people: Perspectives on Bristol, slavery and migration (African Connections). 19 November 2015

Invited to address University of Bristol’s Fulbright Scholar’s Programme on Slavery 2014 and 2015to 150

the state of Black History”         

2016 Invited to teach on ‘Ways into History’ course at the University of Bristol

Co-organised on behalf of UWE and in partnership with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the 4th “What’s Happening in Black British History?’ Conference , Watershed Bristol,  April 2016 where I also spoke


 Public Talks including in 2016:

 “Women’s History in Bristol’ (for MShed Women’s international Day (March 2016)

The Tenth Annual BIRTHA Debate: 'Talking Colston: Memory, Commemoration and Bristol's Slave Legacy'  (May 2016)

(‘The Elusive Lady Apsley: for RHC seminar (June 2016)

‘A Women’s History Walk’ for Bristol Museums (June 2016)

“Chatterton and Human Rights” part of Launch of Thomas Chatterton Society (June 2016)

’Who Belongs to Bristol: Migration and Immigration 1685-2016’ July 2016 to 150 pupils at Hanham Woods Academy (July 2016)

Numerous Broadcast appearances since 1990s include Television (BBC1, BBC4, ITV, Aljazeera-America) Radio (Radio 3 (‘Nightwaves’, ‘Free Thinking’, Radio 4 (‘Women’s Hour’, ‘In Our Time’, ‘The Long View’, BBC World Service, Australian World Service) and various regional and local stations.

2013       BBC 1 ‘The One Show’ interview on Race Relations                

                                BBC Radio 3 Freethinking


                                BBC4 Shipwrecks (programme 2) (January 2014) (repeated February 2016)

                                 ITV Regional News (January and February 2014)

                                ‘America Tonight’-Aljazeera America (Slavery and the British Country House) (March 2014)

                                BBC Radio 4-The Food Programme  (Jamaican Food Culture) June 2014

                                BBC Radio 4 Great Lives (on Ida B.Wells African American activist) August 2014

                                BBC Radio 4 Black Presence in Britain (recorded 2015 to be broadcast October  2016)

BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Programme (25 May 2016)



External positions

Co-Chair, Bristol Record Society

Trustee , Journey to Justice

Fellow, Royal Historical Society

Fellow, Royal Society of Arts

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Centre for Black Humanities
  • slavery
  • Black history


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