11 March 2021

We Are Bristol History Commission: Colston Road and other questions

Join members of the We Are Bristol History Commission and local residents for a virtual round table discussion.

Using Colston Road in BS5 as a starting point, the panel will explore some of the broad questions being looked at by the We Are Bristol History Commission. They will discuss how Bristol’s past has been reflected in the city’s public spaces; why some histories have been remembered whilst others are forgotten (and if, and why, that matters); and much more.

There will also be a chance for the audience to ask questions and join the city-wide conversation about Bristol’s history in the aftermath of the toppling of the Colston statue.

About the panel:

The panel will be chaired by Dr Edson Burton and will include Dr Tim Cole, Dr Joanna Burch-Brown as well as local residents from BS5.

Dr Edson Burton is a writer, historian, programme-curator and performer. Edson’s academic specialisms include: Black Religiosity, Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Black History in the USA, Cultural Continuities between Africa & the New World, Race and Representation. He has been a consultant and coordinator for a range of HLF and Arts Council history projects in Bristol and has maintained a parallel career as a poet and writer for theatre, radio and screen. Edson is a member of the We Are Bristol History Commission.

Dr Tim Cole is Professor of Social History at the University of Bristol and Director of the Brigstow Institute, which develops boundary-crossing research partnerships. Tim has wide ranging interests in social and environmental histories, historical geographies and digital humanities. His core research has focused on Holocaust landscapes, public history and memorialisation, social histories of the Hungarian Holocaust and the spatiality of survival. Tim chairs the We Are Bristol History Commission.

Dr Joanna Burch-Brown is an academic philosopher, who has been playing a leading role in local, national, and international debates about the legacies of slavery and racism in public spaces.  From 2016-2020, she contributed to campaigns to change how Bristol memorializes figures like Edward Colston, and to help Bristol acknowledge and understand its historic role in transatlantic slavery. She has worked with institutional leaders across the city and internationally to find balanced ways to address difficult history and its contemporary legacies. She is currently part of a team who are drafting guidelines for UK public bodies reviewing contested statues and street names. Joanna also directs the Fulbright Institute’s most popular summer school, and her innovative model of research and teaching has empowered young people in Britain and the US to develop their own initiatives addressing concerns that matter in their communities.  As current co-chair for the History Commission, Joanna is leading work on the We Are Bristol Summer School. The Summer School will run throughout June, and will be activity-packed, online, free and open to everyone.  To learn more about the summer school or get involved, email [email protected]

About the We Are Bristol History Commission

The We Are Bristol History Commission aims to facilitate city-wide learning, helping Bristol understand our past, so we can better decide who we want to become. The commission is chaired by Professor Tim Cole from the University of Bristol and involves a wide-range of academics from sectors including philosophy, trade unions, arts and culture, and law.

The commission was initiated after the events summer 2020 and its work will include the history of slavery as well as the full scope of events that have impacted the city. The commission will include the building and removal of the Colston statue as a departure point and it will also consider the growth of education, the struggles of workers for pay and working conditions, and the Chartists and suffragettes campaigning for emancipation.

How to take part

Due to COVID-19, this winter lecture season will take place over Zoom.

Book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 1pm on Thursday 11 March.

Visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining webinars. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly.

The Winter Lecture Series

This panel discussion is part of our Winter Lecture Series, which take place thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives.