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Paxton House Trip & Exhibition!

The Legacy Series, was a 3-chapter African & Caribbean history programme that had been running since Spring 2021, with the aim of helping children explore their heritage and history by incorporating creative arts, educational sessions, and field trips. Beginning with the pre colonial African civilizations in chapter 1, the contemporary cultures and people of the Caribbean in chapter 2 and the movement of enslaved people, their continued resistance and subsequent freedom in chapter 3; we aimed to place slavery in it’s proper context within African history.

Throughout the project the Descendants team had been working alongside Paxton House Trust to prepare a permanent exhibition within their historic house in Berwick Upon Tweed (Scottish border) which would not only acknowledge the house’s links to slavery but also tell a more comprehensive story on the experiences and the lasting legacy of slavery. The room is complete with dressed mannequins, maps, artefacts and documents highlighting Paxton House’s involvement in the slave trade- particularly in Grenada- as well as highlighting the important fact that these enslaved people prior to being captured had their own identities and belonged to their own sophisticated cultures and societies that had flourished prior to European invasion.

The final chapter of the Legacy series was dedicated to helping the children understand the history of slavery in this way, drawing attention to the importance of revolutionary figures such as Toussaint Louverture, Nanny of the Maroons, Julien Fedon and Queen Nzinga and that ultimately black people were not idle but fought continuously for their freedom.

During the sessions the children were encouraged to produce various pieces of work including drawings, paintings, poetry and short stories to reflect what they had learnt and the emotions it invoked. In June 2022, the project culminated in a trip to Paxton House, Scotland, for the official launching of the exhibition, where the children took part in a variety of activities including African dance, drumming, carnival costume making and Scottish dance, and were filled with pride as they saw their work displayed in the exhibition!

Thank you to:

Descendants Staff & Volunteers

Descendants Education Team:

Chantel Noel

Berenice Miles

Paxton House staff:

Dr Fiona Salvesen Murrell

Hermione Hoffmann

Special Guest:

Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Workshop Leaders:

Collette Noel, Youth Street Beats

Rhonda Baptiste,

Julie and Emily Barr, Dunbar School of Dancing

Yilis del Carmen Suriel

Hannabiell Sanders

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