The history of racism video series

The content in this video series has been shaped by the academics, students and other key stakeholders who we will involve based on their areas of expertise and interest.


About the video series

With each topic, we attempt to track the effects of the histories we are exploring on our contemporary realities. Emphasising these links:

  • Makes clear why learning about these topics is relevant to all students and staff.
  • Helps to create an understanding of the lesser-known and more implicit aspects of British racism.
  • Helps create a historically-informed lens through which our students and staff can view contemporary racism.

What are Sheffield's links to slavery?

This first video in the history of racism series begins with the most fundamental aspects of understanding racism in Britain (with particular focus on the Empire and the slave trade), before exploring more specific stories across historical and contemporary Britain.

The history of racism video series: Sheffield and slavery

What is colonialism?

The second video in the history of racism video series discusses what colonialism is, its history, and how its effects are still felt today.

The history of racism video series: Britain and colonialism

​​​The story

It's hard to understand racism without knowing the history behind it, and how those legacies have shaped Britain today. We’ve been speaking to academics across the University, to get their insights into how Sheffield as a city has been shaped by slavery, anti-slavery activism and the abolition of slavery.


Universities have a responsibility to show strong leadership and allyship, proactively make changes through education and the creation of a diverse and inclusive environment where the voices of those underrepresented are heard. By visibly understanding the history, analysing the data and sharing the findings, we can be a catalyst for change.

Tell me more

It’s easy for Britain to pretend to be detached from slavery. We’ve been taught that it’s something that happened hundreds of years ago, that happened on American soil, that we abolished and have cleansed ourselves of. But a lot of the wealth and benefits of slavery continue to be felt in Britain today.

This video series is used as an educational and engagement tool, to inform, inspire and encourage colleagues and students to want to read more about the history of racism.

How can I help?

You can help by watching these videos, sharing them with friends, family members, your peers, your class – anybody really!

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A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.