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What do museum collections reveal about Britain’s and Scotland’s role in the Transatlantic slave system and the experiences of enslaved people? In this specially commissioned piece of work, Lisa Williams, Director of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, explores these themes through some of the objects on display at the National Museum of Scotland.


Many objects entered the national collections through Scotland’s role in the British Empire. Until recently, it was more common for museums to tell stories about Empire through objects reflecting the lives and achievements of Scottish people. Today, museums like the National Museum of Scotland want to reflect the other sides of the story, including creating an understanding of the impact of imperial and colonial actions on societies around the world.

I’ve been working with National Museums Scotland to offer my perspective on the stories of some of the objects in the collection, with supporting material from other museums and archives.

Woman with dark brown hair, grey jumper and white scarf looks forward into the camera with art of two dancing figures behind her.

About the author

Lisa Williams is the founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, promoting the shared heritage between Scotland and the Caribbean. She is a Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

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