Public History

Public History is an important aspect of my professional practice. My career has included a wide range of writings, media appearances, advisory roles, and policy work.

For commissions, please contact my agent Andrew Gordon, of David Higham Associates.

For a list of my academic publications, please consult the dedicated page.

Literary Press and Reviews

Dodos and Dinosaurs‘, Times Literary Supplement, 20 November 2020.

Short Cuts‘, London Review of Books, 22 November 2018.

‘We Prefer their Company’, on David Olusoga, Black and British: A Forgotten History, London Review of Books, 15 June, 2017.

‘Star-Spangled Racism’, on Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, New Statesman, 14 August, 2017.

Short Articles and Blogs

I’ve written for many other sites, including those below.

‘Why are women of colour still so underrepresented in academia?’, Media Diversified, 17 January, 2018.

Exhibiting Foreigners: The Case of Performing ‘Prince’ Lobengula, Our Migration Story, Runnymede Trust. This resource explores the history of migration to the UK and was designed to support GCSE students. You can find out more about why the history of migration is so important from Malachi McIntosh, who worked on the project. The site is now a multi-award wining site, including a Royal Historical Public History Prize.

The Idea of Extinction, Species Remembrance Day blog, ONCA Gallery, Brighton.

Honouring Catherine Hall, Modern British Studies at Birmingham Blog.

Family Archives and History’s Custodians, Modern British Studies at Birmingham.

Exhibit B Puts People on Display for Edinburgh International Festival, The Conversation.

Africans on Show, Scholarship of Blackness blog, University of Birmingham.

On Abdellatif Kechiche’s Black Venus, Darwin Correspondence Project Blog.

Tipu’s Tiger, Viewpoint 96, British Society for the History of Science newsletter. Tipu’s Tiger is my favourite object in any museum. It is a musical organ housed in  a life-sized model of a tiger mauling a soldier that belonged to Tipu Sultan until it was looted from his palace. It is now housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. You can hear the organ being played here.

Podcasts and Talks

Bonnie Greer’s In Search of Black History, Audible podcast series. I consulted on the series and appeared in an episode.

Stephen Fry’s Victorian Secrets, Audible podcast series. I consulted on the series and appear in a couple of the episodes.

CHSTM, University of Manchester, Perspectives on Race Science and Scientific Racism, part of Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Issues series.

The Exhibition of Living Foreign Peoples in 19th Century Britain, Ideas Lab podcast, University of Birmingham.

Displayed Peoples, Empire and Anthropology in the Metropole, Field Notes seminar series podcast, CRASSH, University of Cambridge.

You can watch me discuss my latest project on histories of extinction in the recent talks below.

Why History? Vanished: Extinction Past and Present, British Academy.

Lost Species Day 2020, an evening organised by ONCA Gallery on histories of extinction.

Policy, Public History and Heritage

Until 2022, I co-chaired the Royal Historical Society’s Working Group on Race, Ethnicity & Equality. We published a landmark report on racial inequalities in UK higher education in 2018. I continue to advocate for racial equity within the discipline.

I’ve offered advice on displayed peoples and decolonising exhibitions for many heritage organizations and television productions, including those below.

Decolonisation Guidance Working Group, Museums Association. I served as a member of the working group, and in 2021 we launched new guidance on for institutions seeking to decolonize.

Flux: Parian Unpacked, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. I advised on imperial violence and decolonizing museums for an exhibition of Victorian Parian ware curated by Matt Smith (2017).

George Catlin: American Indian Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London. Between 2012 and 2013, I led a project with the National Portrait Gallery on George Catlin. A group of my students produced online content for the website and gave gallery talks in conjunction with the exhibition. To find out more, view the students’ films.

The Human Zoo: Science’s Dirty Little Secret. I appeared in this documentary for Channel 4’s season on ‘Race: Science’s Last Taboo‘  (2009).

Between Worlds: Voyagers to Britain, 1700–1850, National Portrait Gallery (2007). I advised on images of Sara Baartman featured in the exhibition.

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