The 'Legacies of Slavery' report

We are bringing our history to light and learning from it, supporting our community in the present and creating an inclusive future.

Like many universities across the world, we have commissioned research to understand our links and connections to historical slavery, or the labour of enslaved peoples.

This initial research would not have been possible without significant contributions from Professor Olivette Otele and Dr Richard Stone, along with a range of colleagues within the University of Bristol, in particular Professor Isabella Aboderin, Professor Alvin Birdi, Valuola Ojeme, Alicia O'Grady, Professor Leon Tikly, and Lillian Waddington.

It finds a significant proportion of the wealth used to found our University depended on the labour of enslaved people. Notably, enslaved labour can be linked to all three of the names represented in our University crest: Wills, Fry and Colston. We have a responsibility to acknowledge this and to be forthright and creative in responding to our history today.

This initial report highlights that there is more to explore and understand about our history. We are committed to supporting this work and building it into a rich and broad conversation with our community about restorative actions.

Read the University of Bristol 'Legacies of Slavery' report

Read the Merchant Venturers Building historical context report

Find out more about all the actions the University is already taking, and read our Vice-Chancellor Professor Evelyn Welch's response to the report.

As an initial step, this report will help inform a conversation to hear the full range of views about the representation of our history across campus, including names of buildings across our campus which bear names from those founding families and other associated organisations. It will draw on the experience from existing city-wide consultations about the Colston statue and independent recommendations on policy approaches. We will use the findings together with this initial research to inform decisions about the representation of the University's history across its campus and building names.

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The University of Bristol is a proud member of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium.

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