Curator will highlight slave trade’s impact on Glasgow

Miles Greenwood has been appointed to create displays in the city's museums.

Curator will highlight slave trade’s impact on Glasgow
Miles Greenwood has taken on the new role at Glasgow Life.

A curator has been appointed to highlight the impact of the transatlantic slave trade and the British Empire on Glasgow in the city’s museums.

Glasgow Life, which manages the museums, has announced Miles Greenwood is the city’s first Curator (Legacies of Slavery and Empire).

His remit includes developing a community engagement and research programme to “reshape understandings” of the connection between the slave trade, colonialism and their legacies.

Mr Greenwood, alongside colleagues, will curate displays to demonstrate the impact of slavery and empire on the city.

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He will develop talks, tours and sessions with specialist curators and local communities.

“It’s an honour to take on what is a dream job for me,” Mr Greenwood said.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the collection, while enabling people to connect with their own histories and share their stories.

“Having a role in addressing the legacies of the British Empire and the trade in enslaved African people is incredibly important for me personally, but I also know these legacies impact a lot of people’s lives today, in Glasgow and around the world, so I hope I can them justice.”

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He added: “So many of our social, political and economic realities today are tied to the history of colonialism and the trade in enslaved African people.

“I hope this project will help people understand that connection in an interesting, often challenging, and even empowering way.”

Glasgow Life applied to Museums Galleries Scotland Museum Development Fund to enable them to appoint Mr Greenwood.

Councillor David McDonald, Glasgow Life’s chairman, said the appointment would “enable a step change in the way we are able to address the history of slavery and empire in Glasgow”.

“By creating the post, we hope to send a powerful message about the city’s commitment to acknowledge our difficult past.

“We have carried out a considerable amount of work in the area of slavery and empire, but having Miles lead our efforts will provide a sense of unity and make it easier for local communities to meaningfully engage.

“We understand Glasgow participated fully in the slavery economy, yet the journey of rediscovery and coming to terms with that participation is still in its infancy.

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“There is still much to do and this appointment today will assist us in that vital journey.”

Mr Greenwood recently worked in Visitor Studies at the Paisley Museum, where he worked with community groups and organisations to inform programming.

In that role, he organised a Black History tour of Paisley Museum’s collection, exploring the town’s links to the slave trade.

He has previously delivered Black History workshops with secondary school pupils in Manchester and worked with the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights in a research role.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “We are incredibly pleased to support Glasgow Life’s commitment to showing the legacies of slavery and the empire that have historically been omitted in telling the story of Glasgow.

“The impact of these legacies is still felt in Glasgow today and Miles brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to support the facing of these realities through meaningful engagement with communities and Glasgow Life.”

Story by local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands