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Updates on decolonisation

We try to regularly post updates on the decolonisation work we’re doing.

These blogs summarise what we’ve been doing to tackle issues of power, racism and inequality in our shared history.

Find out more about our action on decolonisation.


New display at M Shed: the toppling of the Colston statue

by Helen McConnell Simpson, Senior Curator of History

Today we have launched an extended display at M Shed about the history of protest in Bristol, with the permanent inclusion of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston, which was pulled down du…


Decolonisation: An update on what’s been happening at Bristol Museums

by Lisa Graves, Curator – World Cultures and Archaeology

In 2020 we set-up a museum Decolonisation Working Group to direct our ambitions to address racial inequalities in our work. Due to huge internal upheaval over the last two years this work has s…


Rediscovering Black Portraiture: The Young Catechist by Henry Meyer

By Peter Braithwaite, baritone, artist, broadcaster and writer.

I made this recreation of the painting ‘The Young Catechist’ by Henry Meyer for my exhibition at the museum, Rediscovering Black Portraiture. I’ve reworked Meyer’s 19th century image of a …


Black Lives Matter Placards at Bristol Museums

by Amber Druce, Curator of Social History

During protests against police brutality and racial inequality on 7 June 2020, people left placards at the base of the Colston statue plinth. This began before the statue was pulled down and continued a…


Decolonising the Bristol Archives catalogue

By Sophie Welsh, third-year PhD student at the universities of Exeter and Southampton

Hello, my name is Sophie Welsh. I’m a third-year PhD student at the University of Exeter and the University of Southampton. I took a short break from my PhD to wor…


Decolonising Language

by Ray Barnett, head of collections and archives

In our efforts to address decolonisation, one major piece of work is around our use of language.

In everyday speech, many people are now more aware of terms that may be offensive to different …


Next steps in our repatriation journeys…

by Lisa Graves, curator of World Cultures

Updated April 2023.

The good news is we have been able to return the Cree coat to Canada. We first told you about this in early 2020 but on 13 October 2021 it finally left Bristol on its journey home.


Black Bristolians – evidence in the archives

by Allie Dillon, City Archivist

For some years, researchers have gathered evidence of Bristol’s historic black population. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, staff at Bristol Archives spent time bringing all this research together.

The result is a new…


New for old: New art commissions respond to world cultures collection

by Lisa Graves, World Cultures and Archaeology Curator

In the 1960s museums across the UK put together collections of objects that were sent into schools to ‘inspire’ and ‘educate’.

Derbyshire Museums school loan service bought material from loc…