Virtual Conference to Explore North East Scotland’s Colonial Connections

The actions and legacies of those who left Scotland and travelled to the colonies of the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries will be discussed at a two-day online conference this week.

Colonial Connections & North East Scotland – supported by the University of Aberdeen and its Museums and Special Collections and the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh – takes place on June 17 and 18,

University of Aberdeen Teaching Fellow Dr Eloise Grey has organised the conference together with Aberdeen PhD student Matthew Lee and and Dr Désha Osborne from Hunter College, City University of New York.

“Our conference will explore the involvement of individuals from North East Scotland in Britain’s growing empire during the 18th and 19th centuries and will discuss the hidden history of the people and areas impacted by the many settlers, soldiers, planters, magistrates, pirates and missionaries from the regions of Scotland’s North East that now constitute Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus.”

Matthew Lee

Dr Osborne said:

“Worldwide protests and demonstrations triggered by collective outrage with the violent public killings of Black people in the United States have created spaces for conversations about racism and discrimination much more widely.”

Panel sessions will cover topics which include colonial investments and institutional legacies in the North East, art and architecture and the links between colonial wealth and the role of Scots in slave-worked plantations.

Dr Grey explained:

“Here in Scotland the history of slavery, colonialism and racism is part of this discussion with calls for significant changes in practice having become particularly powerful because of the Black Lives Matter protests.”

Speakers include Dr Richard Anderson, appointed by the University of Aberdeen last year  as Lecturer in the History of Slavery, and who is conducting a two-year research project into the legacy of historic slavery to the University of Aberdeen within the context of the broader region, including Aberdeen and the North East.

The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland are also represented.

The conference is free and open to all. Places can be booked at 

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Frederick Traill-Burroughs, the Little General of Rousay Art work by Martin Laird

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