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Bluecoat 300: Charity, Philanthropy and the Black Atlantic

  • Fri, 24 Nov 2017 - Sat, 25 Nov 2017
  • 10.00 AM - 4.00 PM


This two-day event explores links between the Transatlantic Slave Trade and philanthropy, revealing the presence of slavery and the Black Atlantic in Bluecoat's and Liverpool’s history. It takes place in the context of two anniversaries: the tercentenary of Bluecoat, built in 1717 as a charity school for orphans; and ten years since the International Slavery Museum opened.

Click here view the full Bluecoat 300 Programme.


Friday 24 November 9am-5.30pm

Symposium at Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., Building, Albert Dock, Liverpool 

Keynote Speaker: Professor Catherine Hall (University College London)

Like many 18th century Liverpool institutions, Bluecoat was built to a large degree with funds derived from the expanding port. Recent research by Sophie Jones into the founding years of the school suggests that at least 65% of regular subscriptions were derived directly from trading in slaves or related industries.

While slavery is often presumed to be counter to or distant from the ‘virtuous realm’ of philanthropy, this symposium takes Bluecoat as a symbol of a more challenging, contradictory history. It will explore how Transatlantic slavery filtered through and shaped charity, philanthropy, religion, education, philosophy, culture, literature and art.

Includes a consideration of Elaine Mitchener’s SWEET TOOTH. 

Book now for Bluecoat 300: Charity, Philanthropy and the Black Atlantic Symposium.

Saturday 25 November 10am-6pm

Participation Day at Bluecoat

A day of talks, tours, display and activities.

10am-6pm Bluecoat and slavery: archival display about artists interrogating this history

11-11.50am Sophie Jones (University of Liverpool), Subscriptions, Schooling and Slavery: Bluecoat's Early Years, 1714-1725. Illustrated talk on how profits of Transatlantic slavery supported Blue Coat School. Book now

12-4pm Explore: children’s drop in activities. 

12-12.50pm Dr. Jenny Barrett (Edge Hill University), The White Man’s dog -Transatlantic Slavery & The Moving Image. Talk exploring the struggles of African American slaves as told through cinema, highlighting more recent films and TV that challenge stereotypical representations. Book now

1.15-2.15pm In the Peaceful Dome exhibition tour led by its curator Bryan Biggs, Bluecoat’s Artistic Director, focusing on themes of slavery, colonial legacies and global trade. Book now

2.20-3.20pm Walking Tour: Laurence Westgaph (University of Liverpool) leads this city centre tour visiting sites resonant of Liverpool’s slavery history. Starts Bluecoat, finishes International Slavery Museum. Book now

3.30-4.30pm, at International Slavery Museum, Ink and Blood exhibition introduced by its curator, Jean-François Manicom, Acting Curator International Slavery Museum.

All events free, booking advised for the talks and tours 

Participants are welcome to attend either day, or both Friday and Saturday

Bluecoat 300: Charity, Philanthropy and the Black Atlantic is a collaboration between Bluecoat, International Slavery Museum, University of Central Lancashire, Edge Hill University, Liverpool Hope University, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and the Centre for the Study of International Slavery.

About the Bluecoat

Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

Opening hours

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Sun 11.00am - 6.00pm

Tickets & Information

0151 702 5324 |

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