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Festival of Ideas

How Can We Create a Shared History? David Olusoga

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Celebrating the new edition of his award-winning book Black and British: A Forgotten History, David Olusoga talks about shared history, the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean, Black Lives Matter and Bristol.

Black and British is vivid confirmation that black history can no longer be kept separate and marginalised. It is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Olusoga reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. He brings us right up to date with the Windrush scandal and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, events which put black British history – and Bristol – at the centre of urgent national debate. 

He shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been entwined for centuries. Black British history is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.

In this wide-ranging conversation with Andrew Kelly, director of Bristol Ideas, David Olusoga talks about his work, what and who inspires him, and what comes next.

David Olusoga Bristol Ideas Playlist

In 2020 public historian, commentator and broadcaster David Olusoga was appointed the first Patron of Bristol Festival of Ideas. He has participated in many festival events over the years as a speaker, panellist or chair. This playlist contains all the events for which we have audio recordings.

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