Richard Stone is an economic and social historian, specialising in the history and legacies of the Atlantic slave economy. He is a member of the Center for Black Humanities, Center for Environmental Humanities, and Early Modern Studies Research Group at the University of Bristol.
Much of his work has focused on the city of Bristol, which provides an ideal window onto the wider Atlantic world. He is especially interested in the role of Atlantic trade and slave derived wealth in shaping the development of major institutions and the wider economy, and the complex relationships between slavery and abolition, business and philanthropy.
His most recent research has focused on the latter years of the Atlantic slave economy. He was the lead researcher for the ‘Past Matters’ group, conducting archival research into links between the University of Bristol and slavery. His findings have been cited by the international media, shaped displays around the University, and influenced the policy of the University’s Senior Management Team. He is Bristol University’s representative to the international Universities Studying Slavery consortium, and continues to research the links of the Wills, Fry, and Colston families to both slavery and the University.
Engaging with a range of publics and institutions is fundamental to his work as a historian. He has used his research expertise to advise Bristol Museums, Bristol Archives, Bristol Old Vic, and Bristol Cathedral. He is currently leading a funded research project investigating the links between Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers and slavery. He regularly give talks and lead guided tours in Bristol and the surrounding area, and regularly engage with the media. His work has featured in a range of podcasts, tv programmes (from House Through Time to Hairy Bikers Pubs that Built Britain), radio (from Radio 4 to Radio Bristol) and newspapers (from The Times and The Economist to CAMRA’s magazine).