Public Engagement

Engaging to make a difference

Situated within the historic heart of Hull, WISE has utilised its city centre location to engage with diverse communities and stakeholders since it opened in 2006. Through partnerships with colleagues and like-minded institutions regionally, nationally and internationally, we have raised awareness about historical injustices including the transatlantic slave trade, slavery around the world and the Holocaust, as well as informing the general public about forms of human rights abuses that blight the lives of millions of men, women and children around the world today.
Our regular calendar of events provides us with the opportunity to share knowledge by researchers based at WISE, as well as friends visiting Hull. In addition to public lectures, seminars, and conferences, we host the annual Alderman Sydney Smith Lecture (endowed in 1973) by a world authority on labour relations and human rights. We are also proud to serve as academic advisors to Hull's annual Freedom Festival (which was established in 2007 as a legacy to William Wilberforce) and through our role on the Hull Black History Partnership ensure Black History Month is celebrated in Hull and further afield. Members of WISE play an active role in both the Annual Holocaust Memorial Day lecture at Hull's Guildhall, as well as education work raising awareness of Genocide with Other causes we champion include the Hull Freetown Society and its fundraising for Ebola, the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation, International Women's Day, World Aids Day, and many projects marking the legacy of the slave trade around the world.
In its work to campaign for the end to contemporary slavery, fight prejudice and raise awareness about historic slavery, WISE has worked with key partners, including the United Nations, EU, UK Government, Anti-Slavery International, Walk Free Foundation, Oxfam, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Free The Slaves, Beecher House Center for the Study of Equal Rights, Windrush Foundation, International Slavery Museum, Hull Museums, Hull History Centre, and Iziko Museums. As well as shaping policy documents and public exhibitions, we have also produced a number of learning resources for schools on the slave trade, contemporary slavery, migration and the Holocaust.
External use of Oriel Chambers for internal or external events has further provided us with the opportunity to showcase some of the projects that we have been involved with. Current exhibitions (accessible by appointment) include ‘We Are All Born Free’, ‘i-dentity’, ‘Wilberforce Women’, ‘42’, ‘Venture Smith’, and collections donated to WISE or the Wilberforce Lecture Trust. Through the Names on the Wall memorial to human rights activists at the rear of the institute members of the public can nominate names of people who have championed liberty, including Nelson Mandela, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Sylvia Pankhurst, Mahatma Gandhi and WISE patron Desmond Tutu.
For further information on our engagement work please contact in the first instance.

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