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 project

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. 

Red letters read Quaco against a background of luscious trees. Subtitle: my life in slavery

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: quaco@sheffield.ac.uk

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.