James Town and Slavery - Stephen Collins

Updated: Jan 25

Dr Stephen Collins is a Lecturer in the School of Media, Culture and Society. Dr Collins' research sits at the interface between performance, law and representations of postcolonial identity. He is particularly interested in performed heritage, intangible cultural heritage, and the influence and presence of folklore in contemporary performance. Dr Collins has a keen interest in West African theatre, particularly Ghanaian, which he has been a student of since first visiting the country in 2000.  


James Town and Slavery is an output from a research project in James Town, Ghana. Funded by the GCRF through the Anti-Slavery Knowledge Network, the film shows a new walking tour developed by Dr Stephen Collins, James Town Walking Tours and the James Town Community Theatre Centre. The walking tour shows participants the hidden clues of James Town's colonial past and the role of local merchants in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The film was given Official Selection at the Changing the Story International Film Festival, 2020. 

He was also involved in a theatre performance called Ode to the James Town Child (2020) which was developed as part of the Hidden Histories: the untold story of James Town and Slavery research project. Led by Dr Stephen Collins with Nii Quaterlai Kwartey and Collins Seymah Smith, the project investigated modern slavery in Accra, Ghana. The performance was developed from interviews undertaken with survivors of modern slavery in Accra and performed by the James Town Community Theatre. The play was performed to over 1000 people in schools and community centres in Ghana and was followed by a workshop that highlighted issues of modern slavery in the community. 


Dr Stephen Collins has also research on the copyright protection of folklore and the tensions between the law and cultural economy in Ghana. The reach of The Conversation means that this work has been read thousands of times. You can click here to read that article.


If you want more in depth information on Dr Stephen Collins work you can click here.