19 Mar Corporate Connections: Connections to Slavery & Empire in Business Archives (March 2021)
Corporate Connections events throughout 2021 explored the theme of ‘Connections to Slavery & Empire in Business Archives’. The first event was led by Jennifer Melville, Project Leader of the Facing Our Past project at the National Trust for Scotland.
As Jennifer writes here:
“The National Trust for Scotland has a wealth of stories about slavery associated with its places… But we have been less forthright in relating darker, more difficult, stories and in explaining some particularly challenging – to modern eyes, even offensive – items in our collections. The truth is that many of the places now in our care were built, or made much grander, using the enormous wealth accrued through the subjugation of others – slavery in the West Indies and indentured servitude in the East.”
Such stories and connections can be found throughout business archive collections with many companies and organisations having direct and indirect links to slavery and empire. What is the role of archivists and curators in understanding our collections and ensuring these stories are told? What does the work of decolonising business archives look like? The discussion will consider these questions and Jennifer’s experience with the NTS project ‘Facing Our Past’.