M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Sophie Campbell

Development Studies, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Before and Beyond Abolition: Remembering the 'business of slavery' at heritage sites in England and New England.

My research is broadly concerned with critical heritage studies and public memory and looks to contribute to discussions about the nature and uses of heritage. It is exploring this through the lens of remembrance of Transatlantic Slavery, specifically the positive economic impact of the trade and practice on England and New England. Despite their geographic distance from the plantations, these two regions were heavily involved in the ‘business of slavery’, to use Clark-Pujara’s term, however today the explicit remnants of slavery are limited or invisible.

My work highlights where and how the ‘business of slavery’ is remembered. Case studies include interventions onto the cityscapes, museums and art galleries, historic houses and historic cotton industry sites. The majority of my case studies have developed their coverage of this topic in the twenty-first century. As well as reflecting on these developments’ implications for ‘heritage’, I am analysing transnational similarities and differences between England and New England.


Research Area

  • Development Studies


  • 'Just part of the Empire story?: English museums' representations of the scale of the 'business of slavery'', paper delivered at Empire & The New Museum Paradigm: Shifting representations at Museums and Art Galleries in the UK. Organised by the Postcolonial Heritage Research Group (University of Sussex, 16-17 September 2019).
  • 'Nelson, Slavery and Heritage', paper delivered at After Empire?: The Contested History of Decolonisation, Migration and Race in Modern Britain. Organised by PGs (University of Leeds, 13-14 December 2018).
  • 'Remembering and labelling the millions involved in Britain's Transatlantic Slavery', paper delivered at Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders and Collaborators as historical concepts: Redundant labels, useful categorisations or somewhere in between? Organised by South East Research Hub (University of Kent, 19 June 2018). 
  • 'Is slavery still on the margins?', poster session presented at Memories at the Margin: Exploring the voices and memories of the suppressed, marginalised, and silenced (University of Bristol, 7-8 June 2018).
  • 'Sites of Memory as Palimpsests?: Bristol's Statue of Edward Colston', paper delivered at Orientations: A Conference of Narrative and Place. Organised by LSP PG Research Group (University of Nottingham, 30-31 May 2018).
  • 'Greatest statesmen or worst villains? Public commemorations of defenders of enslavement', paper delivered at Moving Monuments: History, Memory and the Politics of Public Sculpture. Organised by the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage (Manchester Metropolitan University, 20-21 April 2018).

Public Engagement & Impact

  • (October 2019-Ongoing): I am undertaking a placement with Derby Museums, applying my thesis specialism to the heritage sector. My primary focus is slavery links within their collection.
  • (November 2017 & November 2018): After co-leading pre-planned activities in 2017, I re-wrote and ledhe Postgraduate element of the University of Nottingham's American Studies Discovery Day for Primary School students (Years 4 and 5).
  • (June 2018): I gave a talk for GCSE students at a local school on the Aftermath of the American Civil War, particularly for African Americans.

Teaching Experience & Qualifications

  • I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Completed 2018-2019).
  • (March 2019): Seminar Leader for ‘Wilberforce and Wilberfest’ session, as part of ‘The British Slave Trade and Abolition’, a Final-Year Undergraduate special subject module in the University of Nottingham History department. 
  • (October 2018-January 2019): Teaching Affiliate on ‘Approaches to American Culture 1’, a First-Year Undergraduate module in the University of Nottingham American and Canadian Studies department. Included leading seminars, lecturing and marking.

Previous Education

  • (2017-Ongoing): PhD at the University of Nottingham.
  • (2015-2016): MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies at the University of Leeds (Distinction).
  • (2012-2015): BA (Hons) in History at Lancaster University (First Class).