Magic Lantern Slides – who I worked with

I have put off writing a blog about the slides depicting African scenes as it is such a complex story I am not sure where to start. This post deals with who helped me with my research, a post detailing the story of slavery in Angola will be my next.

As I explained in my first post on this blog the slides depict various scenes from across what seems to be British controlled Africa as well as a selection of slides which show Angolan labour conditions. Some slides of big game hunting are copyrighted to The Times, some are from early twentieth century book on ethnography called Cultures of the World and others are reproductions of famous photographs or the era such as that of Livingstone and others that would have been available as post cards.


I was very lucky to have had the help of Professor Elizabeth Edwards, a biography can be found here, who helped categorise the slides into what region of Africa they depicted as well as a rough time frame they may have been taken as well as further explanation to what was being shown. We chose about twenty of the slides that we believed displayed the story of slavery in Angola. With Professor Edwards I worked with members of CultuRISE who have Angolan heritage to discuss anything they recognised in the slides and what they felt about what was shown.


After all the research was compiled and the text panel for the exhibition written I met with CultuRISE again, they felt they could not comment too much on the slavery aspect of the story as they had no prior knowledge of it and had never experienced anything like it. They did plenty to say about the changes that have happened in Angola, detailing the differences and similarities between then and now. A couple of the topics that got quite heated included the subject of education, Angolan history before the arrival of the Portuguese is not widely taught, and witch doctors and their impact on Angolan communities. Their thoughts and reactions were recorded and will be edited by Alex Henry,, to be played while the slides are shown as part of a recreation of a Magic Lantern show within the exhibition.

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