Making the Colonial History of the University of Leeds Visible and Accessible
Chun Lou supervised by Nina Wardleworth and Jennifer Povey
About the student researchers
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.
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.