Open City Podcast: Slavery and the City

In the summer of 2020, the death of George Floyd during an arrest by police shocked the world. Triggering a surge of Black Lives Matter protests around the world, the sense of injustice surrounding Floyd’s murder also led to many previously overlooked buildings and statues being called into question as institutions, and corporations were held to account for their links with the slave trade.  

In this series of the Open City Podcast, we confront the City of London’s historical links with the transatlantic slave trade by focusing on three key buildings: The Grade I-listed Royal Exchange, the ancient Guildhall which serves as the administrative centre of the Square Mile today, and the Jamaica Wine House on St Michael's Alley.

The three-part series asks whether people in Britain can ever truly reckon with the history of the slave trade, what role our cities and architecture play in Britain’s cultural and historical identity, and what can be done about it now.

The host, Selasi Setufe, explores the ramifications of racism, colonialism, empire and slavery, and analyses how this became embodied in the architecture of the City and beyond. Hearing from academics, campaigners and practitioners, this series sets out a deeper understanding of the role architecture plays not only in Britain’s history, but also our contemporary understanding of racial inequalities and injustices in the City today. 

The first episode of the podcast is going live on Monday 5 April, the second Monday 12 and the third Monday 19 April.

You can listen to the podcast on the Open City website using the 'Do it' button below and also on Acast, Spotify, Apple and Soundcloud.

This episode has been produced in partnership with the City of London Corporation, as part of its drive to tackle racism in all its forms.