Lunch Time Talks with ALES

The Archives for Learning and Education Section of the ARA are happy to announce the first in a series of remote lunchtime talks, which will take place bi-monthly during 2020/2021.

Photo by Alfred Rowe on Unsplash

Our first event, ‘Call and Response: The University of Glasgow and Slavery’ will be held using Microsoft Teams at 1pm on Monday November 9th and feature Siobhán Convery, Assistant Director of Library Collections, and Dr Christine Whyte, Lecturer in Global History. More information on the event and speakers is below.

There will be the opportunity for questions and discussion with the speakers. The event is free to attend for ARA members. A form for booking is available here: booking form.

Information on how to join will be sent to attendees ahead of the event. For more information, please email

In August 2019, the University of Glasgow opened an exhibition in its Chapel which sought to explore the unknown or unexpected ways collections can be related to racial slavery. ‘Call and Response‘ centred around responses to items in collections held by the University’s Archives & Special Collections, the Hunterian Museum and the Library’s maps collection. By opening this dialogue and extending the reach of the exhibition, it was important to acknowledge the histories of enslaved people and their role in the University’s story. This lunchtime talk will look at the context of curating such an exhibition in Glasgow, how objects were selected and explore the curatorial and academic collaboration behind it. 

This exhibition continued the conversation started in 2016 when the University of Glasgow acknowledged that despite the strong abolitionist stance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it continued to accept gifts and bequests from people who profited from slavery to further institutional goals.  In September 2018, Professor Simon Newman and Dr Stephen Mullen published Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow, a report which quantified those financial gains and recommended a programme of reparations. 

 The Exhibition marked the beginning of a programme of reparative justice at the University of Glasgow, in partnership with the University of the West Indies. 

Siobhán Convery is Assistant Director, Library Collections, and Keeper of the Hunter Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Glasgow Library. As a member of the Library’s senior management team she provides strategic leadership for the development and management of the collections, and on academic engagement with them. Prior to joining Glasgow, Siobhan was Head of Special Collections at the University of Aberdeen where she played a key role in the delivery of the prestigious Sir Duncan Rice Library building and Gallery. She has a wealth of experience in collections management and public programming using unique and distinctive collections. 

Dr Christine Whyte is a Lecturer in Global History at the University of Glasgow, specialising in the history of slavery and abolition in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She is currently a British Academy / Wolfson Fellow working on a project about children emancipated from slavery in the 19th century. 


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