The year 2007 marked the bicentenary of the Act abolishing British participation in the slave trade. Representing Enslavement and Abolition on Museums- which uniquely draws together contributions from academic commentators, museum professionals, community activists and artists who had an involvement with the bicentenary - reflects on the complexity and difficulty of museums' experiences in presenting and interpreting the histories of slavery and abolition, and places these experiences in the broader context of debates over the bicentenary's significance and the lessons to be learnt from it. The history of Britain’s role in transatlantic slavery officially become part of the National Curriculum in the UK in 2009; with the bicentenary of 2007, this marks the start of increasing public engagement with what has largely been a ‘hidden’ history. The book aims to not only critically review and assess the impact of the bicentenary, but also to identify practical issues that public historians, consultants, museum practitioners, heritage professionals and policy makers can draw upon in developing responses, both to the increasing recognition of Britain’s history of African enslavement and controversial and traumatic histories more generally.

chapter 1|19 pages


Anxiety and Ambiguity in the Representation of Dissonant History

part 1|74 pages

Organizing the Bicentenary

chapter 3|17 pages

High Anxiety

2007 and Institutional Neuroses

chapter 4|14 pages

Restoring the Pan-African Perspective

Reversing the Institutionalization of Maafa Denial

chapter 5|20 pages

Slavery and the (Symbolic) Politics of Memory in Jamaica

Rethinking the Bicentenary

part 2|52 pages

Representing the Bicentenary

chapter 6|19 pages

The Role of Museums as ‘Places of Social Justice'

Community Consultation and the 1807 Bicentenary

chapter 7|15 pages

Science and Slavery, 2007

Public Consultation

chapter 8|16 pages

The Curatorial Complex

Marking the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade

part 3|79 pages

Marking the Bicentenary

chapter 10|11 pages

Terra Nova for the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

2007 and the Bombay African Strand of the ‘Crossing Continents: Connecting Communities' Project

chapter 11|18 pages

Exhibiting Difference

A Curatorial Journey with George Alexander Gratton, the ‘Spotted Negro Boy'

chapter 12|20 pages

Art, Resistance and Remembrance

A Bicentenary at the British Museum

part 4|97 pages

Encountering the Bicentenary

chapter 14|31 pages

Atrocity Materials and the Representation of Transatlantic Slavery

Problems, Strategies and Reactions

chapter 15|44 pages

Affect and Registers of Engagement

Navigating Emotional Responses to Dissonant Heritages