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Colonial History of the University of Leeds


Making the Colonial History of the University of Leeds Visible and Accessible

Chun Lou supervised by Nina Wardleworth and Jennifer Povey

About the student researchersHeadshot of Chun Lou

I’m Samuel and I am a recent graduate of History and Sociology JH. I am really pleased to be able to contribute to research on the colonial past of the University of Leeds and propose strategies in increasing its accessibility and visibility. Coming from a former British colony, I feel the importance of students understanding their institution’s colonial past, while helping the university to achieve the decolonising goal. Through the placement, I have further confirmed my research interest in colonial history, preservation, and public education.

Project overview

Developing on previous findings, I focused my research on the colonial links between the University of Leeds’ (including Yorkshire College) Textile Industries and the dyeing department. I consulted Annual Reports, Prospectuses, personal papers, accounting records, and other archival materials in the Special Collection and the Leeds Central Library. I focused on three main areas: (a) Kashmir Shawls; (b) Indigo Dye; and (c) academia and alumni participation in the colonial context. Following the findings, I proposed short- and long-term projects in disclosing the colonial history to students.