Translating Quaco is an integrated research and translation initiative at the University of Sheffield. Researchers, translators, authors, and students collaborate to open up colonial legacy as a transnational history.
The way we approach colonial history and literature is often still European-centric. The voices and stories of the exploited and abused remain hidden, overlooked, and untranslated.
Henriette Louwerse, Duco van Oostrum, Filip De Ceuster work with literary translator Jonathan Reeder, guest authors, artists and researchers, and Sheffield students on a range of projects around colonial legacy and present day multiculturalism.
We call our activities Translating Quaco, as a tribute to Quaco, the enslaved ‘futiboy’ of Scottish-Dutch officer John Gabriel Stedman.
We understand translation as a broad activity that involves research, contextualisation and activism. We translate, research, and analyse across language, literature, and national histories.
If you are interested in our work or you have ideas for research/translation projects, please get in touch: email@example.com
Quaco. My Life in Slavery
Guest authors and artists
Guest author Johan Fretz works with professional translator Jenny Watson and Sheffield students to translate part of his novel 'Onder de Paramariboom'. On his discovery of Suriname, country of his mother, and part of his forgotten identity.
Rashif El Kaoui
El Kaoui is a Belgian-Moroccan author and actor. In 2022 Rashif El Kaoui visited Sheffield to discuss and present his theatre performance "De Bastaard', in which he records his trip to Morocco to trace the movements of his father.
Student research projects
Translation and Black Lives Matter
Jordi Britton, one of our student translators reflects on race, whiteness and the role of translation.
As part of a SURE project, Catherine Newell looked into the representation of the colonial past and slavery in museums in Amsterdam, Brussels and Liverpool
Our sponsors and partners
For Translating Quaco and our guest authors over the years we receive financial support from the Dutch Language Union, Nederlandse Taalunie.
We collaborate closely with the cultural hub the-low-countries.com who are always willing to discuss how we can share our work.
We collaborate and receive support from: Dutch Centre at Austin Friars, Flanders House in London, UCL (in particular Christine Sas), Dutch Foundation for Literature, Flanders Literature, Black Archives Amsterdam, British Library, UitgeverijL (in particular Rob van Bavel).
We owe special gratitude to Ineke Mok who took the initiative to create the graphic novel based on her research into the life of Quaco.