I am a global historian focused on West Africa, slavery and its abolition and the history of children and childhoods. Here at the University of Glasgow I work closely with Stephen Mullen, Jelmer Vos and Simon Newman as part of the Slavery Studies Network and I am part of the Centre for Gender History. My work focuses on the importance of children and ideas about childhood to labour regimes, particularly those systems designed to bring an end to slavery.
I am currently doing research into child labour and childcare in Sierra Leone and Liberia. This project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, examines the relationships between the family home, civilising missions, and Black Diaspora colonisation of West Africa in the 19th century. The publications which have emerged from this project deal with topics as diverse as forced labour, developmental politics and breastfeeding.
I’m also co-leading a project titled Seeking Refuge which is a collaboration between artists, writers, academics and tech professionals to experiment with new ways of presenting information online about people’s experiences of trying to escape enslavement.
Before coming to Glasgow I was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Kent from 2015 to 2017 and at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies from 2013 to 2015. In these positions I worked closely with the Iwalewahaus art gallery in Bayreuth to explore creative practice based research and with the Centre for the History of Colonialisms to advance the study of imperial and colonial history. I studied for my PhD at the Chair for the History of the Modern World at ETHZ, supervised by Harald Fischer-Tiné and Andreas Eckert. I also have an MSc in History from the London School of Economics where I worked closely with Joanna Lewis.
Before my PhD studies I worked in the charity sector for a Scottish organisation which supported lone parents into education and training. I also spent two years working for the Scottish government as an online learning developer. I maintain an interest in the use of digital and online technologies to overcome social and economic barriers to education.