About this site

1807 Commemorated is a project coordinated within the Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past (IPUP), a new research centre in the University of York.

Aims and Focus

The central aim of the 1807 Commemorated project is to both map and analyse public debate and activity regarding the bicentenary. We are concerned with identifying and understanding how 1807 is being marked by different agencies and communities in Britain and the consequences of this for the expression of national, local and community identity, and for the development of a range of social debates addressing multiculturalism and social inclusion. The analysis of data collected during this project is informed by a critical reading of material within the fields of museology, heritage studies and history focusing on concepts such as commemoration, memory, remembering, performativity, dissonance and the politics of recognition. A range of discussion papers may be found on this website and we encourage people to read and respond to them.


The project is structured around three phases. Phase One has been funded by University of York internal grants. Phase Two and Phase Three are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the new Knowledge Transfer Fellowship.

Collectively all three phases aim to document and understand the way that the 1807 bicentenary has been mediated and used by a range of agencies and audiences in framing and constructing what it means to be 'British' in the context of wider social and historical debates about multiculturalism. More generally, the project hopes to provide insights into the way traumatic and contentious histories, memories and experiences are taken up, negotiated and mediated in the various stratum of public debate. Each phase of the project builds upon the other to help develop a layered and nuanced understanding of the way the events and personalities key to 1807 have been remembered, forgotten, utilised or ignored in drawing social and political meaning out of the bicentenary.


The results from this research will be made available for discussion through this website which is produced by the 1807 Commemorated project team in collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research.


The insights from the individual phases of the project will be relayed to museum practitioners and academics in a series of three workshops. These will be designed to facilitate feedback between the partner museums and the grant holders, and thus enable the knowledge transfer process between the project and its partners. The final outcome of the project will be the promotion of the workshop findings to inform public policies on heritage and exhibition practices dealing with traumatic and contentious cultural histories and issues.


The project will enable the grant holders and partner museums to achieve a number of objectives:

Partner Museums

The two-year project is a major collaboration between 1807 Commemorated and IPUP with six national museums - the British Museum, the International Slavery Museum, part of the National Museums Liverpool, the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Museum in Docklands, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull. Of the 5 partner museums, 3 are creating new permanent galleries, most significantly the 2nd floor of the National Maritime Museum into an Atlantic World Gallery and an Indian World Gallery; the 3rd floor reorientation of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum called 'Breaking the Chains'; and the annex for the National Museums Liverpool called The International Slavery Museum. These reorientations of national museums are groundbreaking because until recently the subject of slavery has been largely absent. Now in 2007, not only will the exhibitions acknowledge the fact of slavery but also national museums will put the transatlantic slave trade centre stage. Museums want to participate in discussions about how to display problematic and uncomfortable content about the experience of slavery.

Team Members

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All rights in the pages and contents of this website site are reserved by the University of York or individual authors. No part of this website or its contents may be reproduced or distributed in any form other than for private use or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and any amending legislation. All reproductions require an acknowledgement of the source and the author of the work.

The permission to reproduce protected University of York research material does not extend to any material on this site which is identified as being the copyright of a third party. Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.


Although care has been taken in preparing the information supplied on its web site, the 1807 Commemorated Project Team or The University of York does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy of it. The 1807 Commemorated Project Team cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions and accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising. The 1807 Commemorated Project Team reserves the right to make changes to or take down the web site or remove or alter any content at any time without notice. The web site includes links to third party web sites. These links are used to provide further information and are not intended to signify that the 1807 Commemorated Project Team endorses such web sites and/or their content. The 1807 Commemorated Project Team takes no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered as a result of using the linked web sites or as a result of using the information published on any of the pages of the linked web sites. The views expressed in articles, forums or discussion pieces by authors outside the 1807 Commemorated Project Team should not necessarily be considered representative of the views of 1807 Commemorated. The 1807 Commemorated Project Team cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions in these pieces and accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage howsoever arising.


All work on this website is attributable to the authors stated in the work itself. All other work which is not attributed to an author is by Ross Wilson.

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