Colonial Countryside - with speaker Corinne Fowler (DOMUS Seminar)
- Room 139, School of Education (Building R19)
- Social Sciences
DOMUS Seminar Series
Colonial Countryside: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted
Speaker: Corinne Fowler, University of Leicester
Colonial Countryside is a child-led writing and history project in partnership with Peepal Tree Press and the National Trust. The project assembles authors, writers, historians and primary pupils to explore country houses’ African, Caribbean and East India Company connections. In my presentation I will discuss the role of children, schools, heritage organisations, writers and publishers as change agents with the capacity to make Britain’s colonial legacies better understood and more widely known.
I will discuss the importance – for primary pupils and more broadly - of telling unfamiliar stories about empire. National Trust properties reveal a range of colonial links, including slave-produced sugar wealth, East India Company connections, black servants, Indian loot, Francis Drake and African circumnavigators, colonial business interests, holders of colonial office, Chinese wallpaper, Victorian plant hunters and imperial interior design.
I will also consider how children can be supported and equipped to take the lead in national conversations about heritage and history. Colonial Countryside represents an attempt to produce the next generation of historians, archivists, curators and writers who will be able to engage substantially and authoritatively with this topic. 100 primary children are currently visiting 10 National Trust houses to craft fiction and short essays. These are being presented to live, print and digital audiences. They are receiving public speaking training, acting as reverse mentors and participating in a children’s conference.