Teacher Fellowship Programme: Britain and Transatlantic Slavery

Teacher Fellowship Programme 2019

Published: 5th March 2019

Transatlantic slavery remains one of the most widely taught topics in secondary schools' history curricula and poses challenges of principle and practice that require considerable reflection and critical rigour. This Teacher Fellowship Programme explored the teaching of Britain's complex entanglement in transatlantic slavery and abolition, and of the legacies of that entanglement.

The programme drew on a wealth of scholarship in the field, subject-pedagogical conceptual work by Justice to History, and new empirical research from the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project (as it was then known) at University College London, to frame a set of principles to govern the teaching of Britain and to develop new approaches and resources for use in the classroom.

About the course

Participants worked with Dr Nick Draper from UCL and Dr Kate Donington from London South Bank University, and Abdul Mohamud and Dr Robin Whitburn from Justice to History, who are history educators and Fellows of the HA, to address two fundamental questions:

What challenges are involved in developing historical thinking and learning in secondary classrooms that consider transatlantic slavery from perspectives of race, capitalism, culture and justice?

How can we help students and teachers confront issues of exploitation, racism, terror, resistance and reform in both historical and contemporary contexts?

Fellows explored a range of sources and interpretations that can be used to develop meaningful and engaging approaches to teaching about the circumstances, experiences, and consequences of African enslavement across the Atlantic.

This funded programme began in April 2019 with a residential course hosted at the Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College in London and participants then engaged in an eight-week online course. Based on their learning the Teacher Fellows have written a number of resources about teaching Britain and transatlantic slavery in the classroom. A selection of these enquiries is available below. 


You can read a reflective blog from course leader Abdul Mohamud on 5 years on from 'Britain and Transatlantic Slavery': lessons learned and next steps on the HA's One Big History Department blog, in which he considers the curricular and pedagogical principles arising from the programme.

Working principles for the teaching of Britain and transatlantic slavery

Britain and transatlantic slavery is a potentially challenging and sensitive aspect of history, involving major issues of social justice and ethical dimensions of the past. Below you can see the original set of 14 Working Principles, prepared before the Teacher Fellowship to guide this programme of study and to form the basis of future work nationally. The course leaders intended the programme to be an opportunity for further thinking and considered application of these principles.