For details about our management board and constitution please see governance.

You can learn more about some of the current areas of our research. University of Liverpool faculty members welcome communication from prospective PhD students in their areas of interest, and we have a strong record of supervising interdisciplinary projects in this area.


Dr Laura Sandy  (University of Liverpool, History)

Laura Sandy is the current University co-director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery. She is a historian of slavery, North America and the Atlantic World. She teaches undergraduate modules on colonial America, American slavery and Civil Rights and, also, early American comparative slaveries as part of the MA in International Slavery Studies. She joined the University of Liverpool in October 2015 having previously held full-time posts at Oxford Brookes University and Keele University.

Laura’s ESRC funded PhD and Post-Doctoral award supported research on American slavery and led to the publication of works which review the lives of overseers (free and enslaved) and their wives on colonial slave plantations in Virginia and South Carolina. Her first book is entitled The Overseers of Early American Slavery: Supervisors, Enslaved Labourers, and the Plantation Enterprise. She is also the editor of a collection of essays, The Civil War and Slavery Reconsidered: Negotiating the Peripheries.” Her research has involved archival research in every former slave state in the United States looking at slavery, plantation management, resistance, free people of colour, voluntary enslavement, the theft of slaves and the law. Her most recent work investigates the illegal trafficking of slaves in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Laura has advised on museum exhibitions and given talks on her research to historical societies and institutions in the UK, Europe, and the US.

Dr Richard Benjamin (National Museums Liverpool)

Richard  Benjamin heads the International Slavery Museum at National Museums Liverpool and is co-director for the Centre for the Study of International Slavery. He is responsible for the strategic development of the Museum, including its forthcoming state-of-the-art education and resource centre, partnership work and research. He 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 2002, Richard was a Visiting Research scholar at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Research, Harvard University, and was appointed as the Head of the International Slavery Museum in 2006. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Edge Hill University in 2012.


Programme Manager

Dr Mary Booth (University of Liverpool)

Dr Mary Booth specializes in American and British studies, museums studies and heritage tourism studies. Her most recent contribution to the field includes a working manuscript focused on tracing the evolution of museological sites, specifically identifying different catalysts for interpretive change and evaluating the longevity and reception of representational developments. Additionally, she has published on topics including race and gender as well as academic pedagogy and continues to the contribute to the ongoing research surrounding university benefactors and their financial links to historic racial slavery in both Manchester and Liverpool.  

University of Liverpool Members

Dr Alex Balch (Politics)

Alex Balch 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 was previously co-director of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery and is currently 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.

Dr Marios Costambeys (History)

Marios Costambeys is Reader in Medieval History in the Department of History and an historian of early medieval Europe. In addition to his work on the city of Rome between the fifth and tenth centuries CE, he is interested in the documentation in the early middle ages of social conflict and social structures, including the categories – contested then as now – of free and unfree. He was director of the Liverpool Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2003-09 and 2013-17.

Professor Charles Forsdick (Modern Languages and Cultures)

The University of Liverpool’s co-director of CSIS 2010-12, Charles Forsdick is the James Barrow Professor of French and a specialist on French colonial history and the Francophone Caribbean. He has published widely on cultural representations of the Haitian Revolution, and has recently co-authored a biography of Toussaint Louverture (Pluto, 2017). He also has a research interest in the commemoration and memorialization of slavery in both France and the UK.

Joseph Kelly (History)

Joseph Kelly is an Economic and Social Research Council funded PhD candidate and University Teacher at the University of Liverpool. His recently submitted PhD thesis reconstructs the political and cultural debates surrounding British business and transatlantic slavery in Victorian Britain. In 2017 Joseph was awarded a UGA Franklin College-University of Liverpool Short-Term International Research Fellowship. He is the co-author of an online exhibition ‘Liverpool’s Abercromby Square and the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War’ hosted by the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative.

Dr Stephen Kenny (History)

Stephen Kenny is a Lecturer in 19th- and 20th-century North American History. He has published articles on the intersections of slavery, race and medicine in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Social History of Medicine, and The Southern Quarterly. He has contributed essays on race and anatomy, slave hospitals, and disability and the American Civil War for Bodies Beyond Bodies: Moving Anatomies, 1750-1950 (Leuven University Press, 2017); Hospital Life: Theory and Practice From the Medieval to the Modern (2013); and Life and Limb: Perspectives on the American Civil War (Liverpool University Press, 2015). Work on this research has also appeared in The Conversation, The Smithsonian Magazine, and The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. A Leverhulme Trust funded study of ‘Dark Medicine: racism, power and the culture of American Slavery’ is the basis of his forthcoming monograph.

Dr Lucienne Loh (English)

A lecturer in the department of English, Lucienne Loh is currently working on a book project which links some of the earliest Black British writing on slavery by late eighteenth-century writers to contemporary literary representations of slavery by writers such as David Dabydeen, Caryl Phillips and Andrea Levy. This project is partially funded by a small research grant from the British Academy and she would be interested in further collaborative research projects which might develop from her current work.

Professor Kate Marsh (Modern Languages and Cultures)

Kate Marsh is the Professor of French Studies at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on French colonial history (1715–1962) and the postcolonial cultural legacies of empire in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries (including Francophone postcolonial literatures). As part of her work on colonial France, Kate has researched indentured labour and Indian migration to the French Antilles, following the formal abolition of slavery.

Glynn Rankin (Politics)

Glynn is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool, following a distinguished career as a barrister and former Chief Crown Prosecutor in England and Wales. He holds LLB and MBA qualifications. Glynn recently completed a Police Training Manual on Human Trafficking for the OSCE. He manages and coordinates the Trafficking in Persons Platform (TIPP), a global anti-trafficking forum for prosecutors, for the International Association of Prosecutors. He also provides human trafficking training and development and expert facilitation nationally and internationally. He is also a member of the ESRC Peer Review College.

Professor Eve Rosenhaft (Modern Languages and Cultures)

Eve Rosenhaft has undertaken research in Black German studies and the history of international campaigns against colonialism and racial injustice. Her publications in this field include an article, ‘Mother Ada Wright and the International Campaign to Free the Scottsboro Boys’, in the American Historical Review 2001, and Black Germany: The Making and Unmaking of a Diaspora Community 1884-1960 (Cambridge 2013). She is currently engaged in a study of investment practices in eighteenth-century Germany; since the majority of the joint-stock enterprises available for investment in Continental Europe were transatlantic trading companies, this study involves consideration of the moral and economic implications of 'secondary' involvement with the slave trade. She is a member of a European network on slaveholding that arose out of the Economic and Research Council (ESRC) Legacies of British Slaveownership project.

Beth Wilson (History)

Beth Wilson is a final year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool. Her PhD explores the emotional dimensions of ‘ex-slave documents’ produced in the 1930s in the United States; focusing on the creation, use and archiving of textual, oral and visual sources. In 2016/2017 Beth undertook a British Council Funded Fellowship at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress. She also regularly teaches workshops on slavery to schools as part of the University of Liverpool Widening Participation Programme.

Dr Lennon Mhishi (Politics)

Lennon Mhishi joined the University of Liverpool as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Politics department in December 2017, having completed his PhD in Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS University of London. Prior to coming to Liverpool, Lennon has conducted ethnographic research in Harare, Johannesburg, and London. He is currently part of a project, led by Dr Alex Balch, exploring how the arts and humanities can be utilised in tackling contemporary slavery in Sub-Saharan Africa. His doctoral work explored the migrant and diasporic experiences of music, identity and belonging amongst Zimbabweans in London, whilst foregrounding these experiences as part of the genealogy of African and black presence and expressive culture in Britain.

CSIS Honorary Professorship

Dame Sara Thornton DBE QPM

Dame Sara Thornton is the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner responsible for encouraging good practice in the prevention and detection of modern slavery and the identification of victims.  She was the first Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 2015 to 2019.

Dame Sara joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1986 and in 2000 transferred to Thames Valley Police on promotion to Assistant Chief Constable.  Following four years as Deputy Chief Constable she was appointed Chief Constable in 2007.  She contributed significantly to national policing during this time and was the national lead on intelligence, Vice-Chair of ACPO Terrorism and Allied Matters, Director of the Police National Assessment Centre and ACPO Vice-President.

Dame Sara is Chair of the National Leadership Centre’s Advisory Board. She is a member of the Royal College of Defence Studies, the Advisory Board for the Oxford University Centre for Criminology and a trustee and board member of the Police Foundation.

Dame Sara is a graduate of Durham University, also holding a Master of Studies (MSt) degree in Applied Criminology and Police Management from Cambridge University alongside honorary doctorates from Oxford Brookes University and Buckinghamshire New University. She is Honorary Professor in Modern Slavery at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery, University of Liverpool.

Dame Sara was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2006 and made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2019. She has also been recognised with a Career Achievement Award from the Police Training Authority Trustees and the Sir Robert Peel Medal for Outstanding Leadership in Evidence-Based Policing. She is an honorary Air Commodore in the Royal Air Force supporting the work of the auxiliary police squadron.

CSIS Associate Members

Dr Wendy Asquith (University of Nottingham)

Wendy Asquith is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham (2016-2019) for a project entitled The Spectacle of Universal Human Rights: A Century of Intergovernmental Display at World's Fairs. She has interdisciplinary research interests in the visual culture of human rights and humanitarianism, postcolonial nationhood and African diasporic communities of the Atlantic World from the nineteenth century onwards. She was an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award holder (2010-2013) with Tate Liverpool and the University of Liverpool for the project Haiti in Art: Creating and Curating in the Black Atlantic. She is currently preparing a monograph entitled Exhibiting Haiti: The Visual Art of Postcolonial Politics.

Dr Ray Costello (Independent Researcher)

Ray Costello is a member of the CSIS Management Board and former Adviser for Racial Equality as part of the Liverpool Education Authority Inspection. He was a historical consultant for the International Slavery Museum and an Associate of Merseyside Maritime Museum. Ray is the author of a number of publications, the latest being Black Salt: Seafarers of African Descent on British Ships (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012), charting the history of seamen of African descent within the broader socio-economic and historical context of the slave trade and the impact of Britain’s wars. His most recent book is Black Tommies: Soldiers of Africa descent in the First World War. He has been involved with many radio and television programmes about the history of British black people and appeared on Channel 4 Television's 'Time Team' programme The Lost Dock. Ray’s life-long aim has been to encourage further research into the ancestors of Black British people, adopting a prosopographical approach to give a human face to a previously under-researched group.

Professor Gary Craig (Freelance Researcher and Writer)

Gary Craig is Professor Emeritus of Social Justice at the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull and a Visiting Professor at several other universities. He has managed a variety of modern slavery research projects and now works as a freelance researcher and writer, and is co-convenor of the Modern Slavery Research Consortium. He edited Child Slavery Now (2009), Social Justice, a global handbook (2018 forthcoming)  and co-edited Vulnerability, Exploitation and Migration (2016) and The Modern Slavery Agenda (2018 forthcoming), as well as many articles. He is a frequent contributor to media discussions on modern slavery.

Professor Claire Hannibal (University of Wolverhampton)

Claire Hannibal (née Moxham) is Professor of Operations Management at Wolverhampton Business School where she works with the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT). Claire’s work focuses on sustainable supply chain management with a particular emphasis on defining and measuring social sustainability. She is interested in how worker rights, community development and safe working practices can be embedded across all actors in supply chains. Claire is an elected Council Member of the British Academy of Management (BAM) and served on the Board of the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) from 2014-2017.

Dr Kate Hodgson (University College Cork)

Kate Hodgson is a Lecturer in French at University College Cork. She was previously awarded a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Liverpool for a research project entitled ‘Haiti and the international politics of anti-slavery’ (2012-2015). She is an Honorary Fellow of the UK-based Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, where she worked on an EU 7th Framework Programme project on slavery and its legacies in Europe between 2009 and 2011. Her main research interests are in Francophone Caribbean history and culture, with a particular focus on Haiti; slavery, memory and commemoration in the wider Francophone world; history, identity, anti-slavery and post-colonial politics.

Dr Andrea Livesey (Liverpool John Moores University)

Andrea Livesey is Senior Lecturer in US History at Liverpool John Moores University. Andrea’s research interests centre on slavery, race and sexual violence in the United States. She is currently working on two book projects exploring the racialised dynamics of interviews in the Louisian Writers Project and a study of slavery and sexual violence in the Lower South. Her article 'Conceived in Violence: Enslaved Mothers and Children Born of Rape in Nineteenth Century Louisiana', was published in Slavery and Abolition in June 2017.

Prof. Alan Rice (University of Central Lancashire)

Alan Rice is Professor in English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire and a member of the CSIS management board. Alan has published widely in African American Studies, Transatlantic Cultural Studies and also in Ethnic Studies. He is the author of Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (Liverpool UP, 2010). Alan was a key advisor and commentator for the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Britain's Black Past: An Invisible Presence’, broadcast in October 2016. He talked about Lancaster and Sambo's Grave as well as the importance of Robert Wedderburn.

Alex Robinson (Independent Researcher)

After teaching history in a Liverpool secondary school for thirty years Alex Robinson became a field researcher and project worker with the Understanding Slavery Initiative, with the development team for the International Slavery Museum and has since curated exhibitions in Liverpool and the Caribbean. She has conducted collaborations with schools, museums and UNESCO to create online resources on the subject of slavery’s imprint on the landscape. She has taught on the Slavery and Heritage MA and is presently teaching in the Department of Continuing Education. Alex is the author of a number of publications exploring the slavery connections of the built heritage in the North West.

Visiting scholars 2018-2019

Aretha Phiri

Aretha Phiri has a PhD from Edinburgh University. A lecturer in the English Department at Rhodes University and a research fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in South Africa, her research involves interrogating the intersectional interactions of race, ethnicity, culture, gender and sexualities in comparative, transnational and transatlantic considerations of identity and subjectivity. She has published in various accredited journals including English Studies in Africa, Safundi, Agenda, Cultural Studies, European Journal of English Studies and the Journal of American Studies.

Mark Seyram Amenyo-Xa

Mark Seyram Amenyo-Xa is employed as a Curator with the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) and stationed at its Central and Western Regional Office in the Cape Coast Castle. He is currently studying for his PhD in Museum and Heritage Studies in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, University of Ghana. He is currently engaged as a Research Associate and representative of GMMB on the Antislavery Knowledge Network Project.

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