BARD Statement of Support for Black Lives Matter

History is not the past, history is the present.

Black Atlantic Research Dundee (BARD) was established in 2019 to facilitate collaboration between a range of interdisciplinary scholars, artists, community organisations, and residents who are researching, supporting, and striving for positive change in relation to our understandings of empire, the Black Atlantic and the legacies of anti-Black racism and inequality today.

As a group of interdisciplinary scholars and artists who are actively involved in challenging stereotypical representations of race, gender, sexuality, and national identities we are appalled and outraged by the recent extrajudicial killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the US. We can link the origins of state-sanctioned racialised violence to 500 years of colonisation, slavery, imperial expansion, and genocide in the Americas. We also recognise that contemporary instances of violence such as these are not isolated incidents, and not limited to the US; they are part of wider institutionalised racism and discriminatory practices, engendered by white privilege and white supremacy found globally, including the more local setting of Scotland and the wider UK.

Slavery exists as part of the modern world—its legacies are found in economic and educational inequalities, immigration policies, city centre monuments, health disparities, discriminatory language—it encompasses histories and geographies that are not simply “over there” or “back then.” To understand and change the enduring legacies of empire and slavery it is imperative that we learn, educate, collaborate and act on anti-racist scholarship. This education involves directly and critically engaging with what slavery encompasses, in the past, present and future.

Racism is not passive: it is active, adaptable and requires ongoing challenges. If structural racism exists, then we must assert an anti-racist stance and continue to fight it. This is a time for us to reflect on what we do and what more we can do.

In 2019, we called on University of Dundee to explore the origins of the university in relation to imperial wealth. We reiterate that call today as a necessary first step in transparency.

BARD is open for strategic conversation and we encourage suggestions for future activities. We are keen to hear from local, national and international individuals and organizations who share our collaborative aims.



Black Lives Matter USA

BLM UK fund for donations

BLM UK twitter @ukblm


Justice for ShekuBayoh

Black Lives Matter Dundee

Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights in Scotland


Links to further resources

The University of Warwick History has produced an excellent academic reading list organised by theme:

White academia do better:

Positive Action in Housing ‘How to be an anti-racist ally after George Floyd’

Black History Month Launch @ Holyrood

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Scotland’s Black History Month 2019 arrived in style on 24 September with a joyous launch party at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Our own Dr Peggy Brunache was the Master of Ceremonies for this historic event.

The launch featured speeches by Prof Sir Geoff Palmer, Sandra Deslandes-Clark and a keynote by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The evening will be remembered for performances both moving and uplifting from such as the Maryhill Integration Network Choir, Andrea Baker’s stunning vocals from Sing Sistah Sing! and a mesmerising poetry reading from Hannah Lavery’s The Drift.

Black History Month has been co-ordinated by CRER Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights in Scotland each October since 2001. The programme for this year’s events can be found here:

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How Flexible Can We Make the Mouth

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Scots-Barbadian artist Alberta Whittle has a stunning exhibition at the DCA Dundee Centre for Contemporary Arts from 14 Sep- 24 November 2019.

How Flexible Can We Make the Mouth refers to Whittle’s current preoccupation with healing, writing, breath and orality. Writing has always been an integral part of her practice and the texts she produces are meant to be read aloud, to be heard as well as seen. She also works rhythmically in relation to writing and reading, particularly looking at punctuation marks as visual signifiers of shifts in breath and breathing. Looking at the relationship between historical written testimonies and ancestral knowledge shared through oral traditions, the artist will be using video and performance to create direct encounters with audiences, encouraging mutual empathy, learning, and understanding.