For the past two summers, two groups of Christ’s students have explored the archives to document the involvement of College members in the slave trade, slave plantations and anti-slavery agitation.

At a special event on Friday 28 October at 5pm in the Yusuf Hamied Theatre, this year’s group will report their findings. Fergus Kirman and Sarah Clark will introduce their new website, which they built in order to document all the known members of College who benefitted from enslavement, and Hollie Wright will present her findings about research on anti-slavery advocates who attended the College.

Fergus Kirman, a 3rd-year History student, said:

“We’re proud to be unveiling this research into the complex connections between members of Christ's and enslavement in the British colonies. We invite everyone to explore the website, and especially to attend the event on Friday when we’ll discuss the outputs from this year’s project and take questions from the audience.

Sarah Clark and Fergus Kirwan in Third Court
Sarah Clark and Fergus Kirman

Christ’s Fellows Professor David Reynolds and Dr Harriet Lyon advised this year’s group of students. Professor Reynolds said:

“Most of the historical profession regard these investigations – now being conducted across the UK, not only in universities but also through community projects in cities and towns – as essential to ensure a fuller and more honest understanding of our past and how it still affects the present.” 

Dr Purba Hossain, Junior Research Fellow in History at Christ’s, will also speak at the event to reflect on this year’s findings.

This year’s research, which took place in the summer of 2022 on a paid internship basis, completes much of the work initiated in 2021 with the support of Christ’s Fellow Dr Helen Pfeifer.

This student-led project complements the initiative launched in 2019 by then Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope. The Advisory Group on the Legacies of Enslavement, whose members included Christ’s Fellow Professor Ash Amin, published its report last month.