The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum
The British Empire & Commonwealth Museum

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Fax: +44 (0)117 954 4849

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The Big Conversation

A national competition to mark the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act has been launched by the Understanding Slavery initiative, a nationwide consortium of museums that includes the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum

‘The Big Conversation 2007’ competition, debate and showcase has been devised to encourage 11 to 14 year old students to research and discuss the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade. It is open to schools, after school clubs, organised summer school groups and youth clubs.

Developed by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) as part of the education project Understanding Slavery, the scheme aims to enable young people to explore this important element of British history in the context of modern day issues.

Young people will work together in their schools to develop journalistic projects in response to one of the following questions:

  • How and why should Britons commemorate the transatlantic slave trade?
  • How can Britons learn from this history and celebrate a modern society with a diverse heritage?

The competition will be judged in the autumn by a range of professionals and personalities from education, the arts, literature and the media.

Students from the winning schools will have the opportunity to discuss their final work, ideas and views in ‘The Big Conversation 2007’ debate in December with representatives from education, the media and politics.

Students can find the website at Teachers can register to receive information about the competition and the teaching resource by e-mailing

The competition is open to secondary schools across England and organisations working with young people aged 11 – 14. The winning schools will also be offered a one-day workshop with a documentary or film maker and £500 towards a museum visit.

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Station Approach, Temple Meads, Bristol, BS1 6QH

Tel: +44 (0)117 925 4980

Fax: +44 (0)117 954 4849

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