Understanding transatlantic slavery - International Slavery Museum on tour

The International Slavery Museum is heading on the road, bringing some of the history, objects, and stories straight to you. In this workshop students will engage with historical sources and artworks.   

This unique learning experience aims to show how significant events from the past have shaped and continue to shape the world around us. Our amazing learning bases across Liverpool will give students a sense of place and an understanding of the rich local Black communities which have been affected by this history, boosting cultural capital.

These sessions will feed into our Waterfront Transformation Project and students will have an exciting opportunity to be part of the development of our new museum.   

Dates and locations

The workshops take place 9.30am-12pm on the following dates:

  • 2 May - University of Liverpool 
  • 6 June - we are available to come into school venues in the Liverpool City Region 
  • 27 June - University of Liverpool 
  • 4 July - University of Liverpool 
  • 18 July - we are available to come into school venues in the Liverpool City Region

Workshop details

Each workshop consists of two sessions -

  • Where do we begin?
  • How do we connect to the history of transatlantic slavery

Where do we begin?  

Students will be guided through a series of hands-on activities with historical sources and museum artefacts to aid and deepen their understanding of transatlantic slavery. 

Transatlantic slavery was responsible for the forced migration and enslavement of more than 12 million people from Africa to the Americas over hundreds of years. The impact of this is complex and far reaching, and understanding it is challenging but essential. In this workshop we ask the key question when approaching this massive topic: where do we begin? 

Based on the African tradition of 'call and response' students will explore the key themes of remembrance, forced migration, plantation life as well as resistance, while being empowered to bring their own lived experiences to the session.  

They will work in groups to explore key topics including forced migration, enslavement on the plantation, resistance as well as abolition. Students will be encouraged to discuss and present their findings and explore ways they can take an active step to tackle racism. 

This unique experience in a local Liverpool learning base or in your schools aims to give students a sense of place and a richer understanding of the histories and communities they are a part of.  Students will learn important object handling and primary source analysis skills. New vocabulary will be introduced with the aim of building empathy and understanding of fundamental British values. 

The ideas and artwork created by students will be used in this year’s Slavery Remembrance Day programme.    

How do we connect to the history of transatlantic slavery?

This engaging workshop uses the African principal of 'call and response' to explore the question: How do we connect to the history of slavery? During the transatlantic slave trade Liverpool was responsible for the forced migration and brutal enslavement of millions of people. This history has a lasting impact on the world around us globally and personally. In this session we aim to connect the threads between the historical events and the world we live in today. 

Transatlantic slavery has had a massive impact on the world around us, particularly in Liverpool. We all have lived experiences that connect us with this history. Using the Zong Massacre as a case study this session aims to create a safe and responsible space for students to explore the different ways in which we connect to this history.

Students will work in groups and use museum objects, primary source archival materials, and artworks to aid in discussions around the middle passage, racism and legacies. Young people will have opportunities to use craftivism to create artist responses to transatlantic slavery and its legacies, locally and globally. New vocabulary will be introduced and built with the aim of inspiring empathy and having rich debate. 

The ideas and artwork created by students will be used in this year’s Slavery Remembrance Day programme.    

Information for teachers

Please note that these are outreach sessions held in either our Liverpool Learning bases or in your school. As a promotional offer we are offering 50% off our in-venue Legacies of transatlantic slavery workshop, please email lois.south@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk for details. We will send venue maps, risk assessments and terms and conditions after booking. 

Optional pre-visit activities and resources are available to complement this workshop. They offer important context and guidance for teachers and pupils. The resources challenge pre-existing misconceptions, explore life in Africa before transatlantic slavery, teach appropriate terminology, and outline a code of conduct for respectful engagement with sensitive content. We provide a straightforward lesson plan and all the necessary resources to do this as downloadable pdfs. 

Image © Mina Bihi Adjustment Bureau

Curriculum links

History

  • How people’s lives have been shaped by Britain and how this nation has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
  • Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, including its effects and its eventual abolition.

OCR History A

Impact of Empire on Britain 1688-1730 Depth Study

The involvement of the British population in the transatlantic slave trade including:

  • the development of ‘slave ports’ – Bristol, Liverpool, London;
  • growth of ideas of a racial hierarchy and impact of these ideas on settled minority communities;
  • opposition to slavery and the slave trade.

AQA History

Paper 2: Shaping the Nation

Britain: Power and the people: 1170 to the present day

  • Protest and change: campaigning groups and their methods and impact, including the Anti-Slavery movement.

Britain: Migration, empires and the people: c790 to the present day

  • Sugar and the Caribbean: piracy and plunder; the development of the slave trade, the economic and social impact of the slave trade on Britain.

Citizenship

  • The precious liberties enjoyed by the citizens of the United Kingdom
  • The ways in which citizens can work together to improve their communities

Fundamental British Values

Democracy

  • Pupils take a role in group discussion and debate.
  • Pupils work collaboratively and contribute to group decisions about evidence.

Individual liberty

  • Pupils are encouraged to voice opinions appropriately, as well as listen to and respect the opinions of others.

Tolerance and mutual respect 

  • Build an understanding of respect, tolerance and freedom, as well as individual and collective responsibilities to protecting fundamental rights.
  • Enable students to contribute to a more welcoming, tolerant and inclusive environment.

Art and Design

  • Learn about the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day.
  • to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials 
  • to analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Understand the significance of the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on today’s society.

Skills

Pupils will:

  • Use historical terms and concepts in a sophisticated and empathetic way.
  • Identify significant events, make connections and draw contrasts.
  • Analyse primary sources, including reliability and bias.
  • Listen and collaborate to discuss and present findings.

Concepts

Pupils will:

  • Be introduced to artefacts in a museum context and as primary sources of investigation.
  • Recognise cause and consequence.

Attitudes

Pupils will:

  • Increase confidence in identifying and challenging racism.