25th March 2021 18.00-19.30 on Zoom
This workshop was co-organised by members of the Co-Creation team and the VIP projects at the University of Bath. It launches a new walking tour in Bath and proposes a creative engagementabout the legacies of slavery in the city.
Electrified by the Black Lives Matter movement and the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol in the summer of 2020, various actors have sought to decolonise and reframe the way history is taught, narratives are shaped and the “uncomfortable past” is remembered. During the 2020-21 lockdown a group of students and staff at the University of Bath immersed themselves in exploring new, inclusive and ethical ways of engaging with the past of our UNESCO World Heritage city, through creativity and the bodily experience of walking. We have conceived a walking tour entitled “Walk Bath’s Uncomfortable Past” and now that we are about to release it, we are looking for communities of walkers to test it and share their thoughts about it. While the walk and the related discussion about Bath’s links to slavery is primarily aimed at residents and visitors in Bath, today the generalised use of digital media enables broader audiences to join our conversation and creative workshop.
To draw attention to the “uncomfortable past”, we invited Bath-based and remote audiences to attend this workshop which aimed to introduce the new walk and engage participants in a creative reflection about the legacies of transatlantic slavery. Facilitated by Dr Christina Horvath and Benjamin van Praag and organised by members of the VIP Co-Creation project, the event consisted of three activities:
1) A presentation of the walk and the map by the team. Click here to download the walkable map: https://www.co-creation-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Updated-Bath-Abolition-Movement-Map-25th-March.pdf
2) A discussion panel with heritage professionals, artists and researchers from Bath and elsewhere;
3) A hands-on creative workshop in which participants will be encouraged to collage, draw, paint and juxtapose contemporary and colonial images to create an art piece that can be used to memorialize this past including a monument acknowledging the history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in Bath. Please click here to download our image pack collated to inspire your creativity: The image pack can be downloaded here: https://www.co-creation-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Collage-Pack-Uncomfortable-Past.pdf
The speakers of the panel included:
Ralph A. Maingrette is a Haiti-born, multidisciplinary artist who was educated in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the US. He is currently based in Montreal, Canada, where he coordinates the Centre of Arts at Maison d’Haïti (Haiti House). Founder of “Fabrique Nomade”, he promotes art as a social, digital and pedagogical tool and engages young audiences in regular creative workshops making masks, toys and African instruments.
Prof Alan Rice (University of Central Lancashire), Director of UCLan Research Centre in Migration, Diaspora and Exile (MIDEX), Co-Director of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research, author of several monographs about Black Atlantic Memorials and an activist in campaigning for the building of a memorial in Lancaster for victims of the trade of enslaved Africans.
Jill Sutherland is a Bristol-based museum professional and emerging academic, of Caribbean diasporic heritage. As Curatorial Fellow at the Holburne Museum, Bath, her work has focused on interpretation and a new permanent display of a Plantation Book from Barbados, 1722. Her PhD investigates curator’s responses to audience engagement in small museums in the South West, UK
Dr Shawn Sobers (UWE Bristol) is Associate Professor in Cultural and Interdisciplinary practices, Director of the Critical Race and Culture Research Network and Trustee of Fairfield House in Bath. He works through research, film and photography on personal narratives, hidden histories and untold stories. His expertise has spanned a wide range of topics, including community media, creative education, Trans-Atlantic slave trade, disability & walking, and Rastafari culture.
Dr Richard White (Bath Spa University) is an artist/researcher with interests in the physical, emotional, sensory and intellectual experience of walking as a way of engaging with reluctant heritage including the Holocaust and transatlantic slavery. Richard’s Sweet Waters project has been exploring legacies and revealing resonances of slave-ownership in Bath.
The event was facilitated by Dr Christina Horvath (University of Bath) and Benjamin Van Praag (University of Bath).
The recording of the event is available to watch here:
Click here to see our presentation:
If you are interested in our project, please contact us and/or follow us on social media:
Creative workshop activity
During or after the event, we invite you to create collages, drawings or other creative outputs exploring Bath’s links to colonial slavery with an open discussion on how to best memorialise this past. You can download our image pack which has been collated to inspire your creative thinking about the “uncomfortable” past: The image pack can be downloaded here: https://www.co-creation-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Walk-Baths-Uncomfortable-Past-map-with-contact.pdf. However, if you prefer to use your own images or create a piece of art through writing or any other medium, feel free to do so. If you would like to share your creations with us (and we hope you do!), there is a Padlet where you can upload your work. All submitted work will take part in a raffle, and you can win walk-related gift packages. To participate, please send your artwork by 30th April 2021 to our email address: Walkbathuncomfortablepast@gmail.com With your consent, we hope to share some of the submitted pieces on our social media pages.
Contact and feedback
This event launches the walk which we are currently seeking to Co-Create, test and improve. For this, we hope that you will download our PDF (it should be printed in A3 formet or used as a PDF on a mobile device as you walk. We would like to hear about your experince. Please use our online survey to give us feedback:
You can also contact us by email: Walkbathuncomfortablepast@gmail.com
The Bath VIP Co-Creation team
(Christina, Ben, Nicole, Thibault, Daria, Galina, Lilly, Max, Natalya, Emilia, Thao)