Dr. Richard Benjamin

Head of the International Slavery Museum, Richard Benjamin has also been the National Museums Liverpool co-director of CSIS since 2006. Richard gained a BA (Hons) degree in Community and Race Relations at Edge Hill College and then went on to complete an MA and PhD in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Edge Hill University.

Dr Alex Balch (University of Liverpool)

Alex is current University co-director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery. He is a specialist on the politics of modern slavery and teaches about state and non-state responses to human trafficking and forced labour as part of the MA in International Slavery Studies. He has conducted a number of research projects investigating the UK policy framework, with a particular interest in gaps and weaknesses in regulation and enforcement, and the role of business and supply chains. He has gained funding for his work from the European Commission, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and Economic and Social Research Council. Alex is co-convenor of the Forced Labour Monitoring Group (FLMG) a network which brings together academics, practitioners and policymakers to assess and discuss issues around forced labour.

Management Board

Mission Statement

The Centre for the Study of International Slavery aims to contribute to greater understanding and informed debate about slavery and its many legacies. We promote an international, comparative, and interdisciplinary approach to examine the cultural and social effects of the slave trade, slavery, andresistance, on all societies involved. We also further the study of memorialisation, and of the interpretation of slavery as part of a wider public history agenda.

We aim to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and opinions between scholars based in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and North and South America. As a partnership between The University of Liverpool and National Museums Liverpool, the Centre will facilitate access to rich archival and material collections, while offering a strong focus on questions of culture and heritage.

While the Centre’s primary focus will be on scholarly research, this activity is designed to contribute to learning and outreach programmes and events for local communities, schools, volunteers, lifelong learners, and the general public. These will raise awareness of the persistence of slavery and means of its eradication, as well as encourage debate about attitudes towards freedom, race, ethnicity, tolerance, respect, and citizenship.

To achieve its aims, the Centre will organise interdisciplinary academic conferences, seminars and workshops. We will network with other research institutions and scholars in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the USA. The School of Histories, Languages, and Cultures at the University of Liverpool offers an MA in International Slavery Studies, as well as postgraduate research programmes that are integrated with the Centre's activities and focus.

We are committed to providing facilities and support for visiting scholars, especially promising young researchers. We also strive to make the extensive archival and other resources available in Liverpool more easily accessible to scholars and the interested public. We will disseminate research outcomes through public lectures and events, through the Centre’s monograph series within Liverpool University Press, as well as through contributions to National Museum Liverpool’s exhibits and outreach programmes.

The Centre was founded in May 2006. Based in Liverpool, one of Europe’s main slave trading ports and a hub of international trade and migration for centuries, the Centre is in a unique position to develop an international and interdisciplinary understanding of the global impact of slavery. Its activities are developed in partnership with the International Slavery Museum opened in 2007, and in collaboration with other organisations in Liverpool and beyond. The Centre brings together a diverse group of resident researchers, curators, and educators and started developing facilities for visiting researchers and scholars.

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