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Slavery in the Age of Revolution

for Balliol College, Oxford & the Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

We were commissioned to make a documentary film for Balliol College, Oxford University, to support their public exhibition, entitled Slavery in The Age of Revolution, which encouraged an exploration and understanding of their history and links to the trade in enslaved people from African kingdoms to the Caribbean islands that produced vast commodity wealth that benefited Britain, and the revolutions that precipitated change.

Underpinned with deep academic research, the exhibition looked at manuscripts, papers and artefacts linked to the transatlantic slave trade from within the College's historic collection, going back hundreds of years.

It was fitting that the symmetry of old paper manuscripts informed and created often overlooked narratives of the enslaved, artistically expressed in specially commissioned paper dioramas. The accuracy of the exhibition artefacts and academic research underpinned and informed our film-making process throughout.

We made, and then photographed and filmed the paper artwork to bring the audience closer to the reality - and make them feel “inside the scene”. The curators at Balliol College were so moved by the 3D paper dioramas that they included them in the public exhibition, alongside their own artefacts.

We brought in two young women - one a history & politics student and the other an aspiring artist - with Jamaican heritage, to accurately inform our work and influence our direction and story-telling.

We were also commissioned to photograph the historic artefacts for the Exhibition's catalogue, with which we also helped advise on the layout.

Slavery Booklet
with thanks to Balliol College, Oxford for their kind permission to republish their exhibition catalogue

The film and all the associated content is now being used as part of a transatlantic initiative for a series of teacher seminars between Balliol College and the education programme at Philadelphia's Museum of the American Revolution.

The aim is to provide teachers in the US and the UK with new content for this period of history, led by their joint academic research and our work. These are a few of the education samples we made in anticipation of the project expanding into 2022 and beyond: