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Contemporary collecting records how new interpretations of difficult aspects of Scotland's past are coming to the fore.

This porcelain tea set was used in a pop-up café in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games of 2014. Over the products of Empire – tea, coffee and sugar – visitors to the Empire Café discussed Scotland’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. Specially commissioned poetry by Scottish and Caribbean writers is printed in black and gold on the white porcelain, symbolising the riches created by Scotland’s slavery past.

In the film, Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, together with co-creators of The Empire Café Louise Welsh and Jude Barber, reflect on what the tea set tells us about how we understand the history and legacy of slavery in Scotland.

You can see the Empire Tea Set on display in the Scots in America gallery on Level 5 of the National Museum of Scotland.

In this blog post, Dr Sarah Laurenson, Curator of Modern and Contemporary History, explains how the tea set serves as a contemporary intervention in this display of historical artefacts.

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