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Research & Collections Programme

Growing research through the convening power of Cambridge’s collections
This workshop has already taken place

Environment and Empire workshop

  • 1 September 2021
  • 13:30-16:30

Are you a natural scientist, historian or museum professional working with natural history collections? Are you interested in understanding how legacies of enslavement and empire have affected, and continue to affect, environmental science?

In this short workshop, partners in the Empire and Environment project, together with a small number of guest speakers will explore some of the professional skills and challenges we face when investigating hidden histories in the natural sciences, with a particular focus on collections cared for by universities. Themes will include: types of labour involved in collecting and curating specimens, and the people who have (and do) carried out that work; marginalisation of indigenous peoples and their research; biases in collections and data due to the geographical locations of colonial activities; and the awareness that this is a Britain-centred project and that other imperial projects have had also impacted on the environmental sciences.

The project partners are:

  • University of Cambridge Museums
  • Manchester Museum
  • Natural Sciences Collections Association
  • British Society for the History of Science


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This half-day workshop is part of the Environment and Empire project, funded by the NERC/AHRC Hidden Histories of Environmental Science programme.