Sensing Sugaropolis

Thu 12 - Sun 22 Nov 2020, 10:00 - 14:00

Watt Institution, 15 Kelly St, Greenock, Scotland, PA16 8JX

Pick up your own sensory kit to discover the sites and smells of the recent history of Greenock’s sugar industry at home. Once a busy trading port of the British Empire known as ‘Sugaropolis’, Greenock became a global hub for sugar refining in the mid-19th century, built on wealth generated from imports arriving from Caribbean plantations which depended on the labour of imported enslaved Africans. Shipyard and refinery owners in Greenock grew wealthy from their trades, while migrant labourers, displaced by the Highland clearances and Irish famine, joined German sugar-bakers and Italian grocers and confectioners working in the town.

Watch a special video introducing the recent industrial past of this part of Scotland, to learn how our senses can unlock memories of the past.

Dr Emma Bond, Reader, Transnational Cultural Studies, University of St Andrews
Dr Mona Bozdog, Lecturer in Immersive Experience Design, Abertay University

Part of Being Human Festival, 12-22 November
Suitable for all ages.

SENSORY KITS NO LONGER AVAILABLE Free. Sensory kits were available on a first come, first serve basis.

‘Sensing Sugaropolis’ is part of a wider suite of initiatives which explore the history of Greenock’s sugar industry. Whilst this particular strand is focused on memories of the smells and sites of the recent, local past, this history is inextricably linked to the transatlantic slave trade. You can find further resources on this here:

Alison Campsie, ‘How Scots Fishing Towns Boomed from Sale of Salted Herring to Slave Plantations’, The Scotsman, 9 August 2020

T.M. Devine, ‘Did Slavery make Scotia great?’, Britain and the World, volume 4, no. 1 (2011), 40-64.

Mark Duffill, ‘The Africa Trade from the Ports of Scotland, 1706-66’, Slavery and Abolition volume 25, no. 3 (2004), 102-122.

Stephen Mullen, ‘James Watt and Slavery in Scotland’, History Workshop, August 17 2020

If you have any questions about this event please refer to our Public Events FAQs. If your question is not answered, please email [email protected].

Image: courtesy of Emma Bond.

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