Slavery show marks bicentenary of abolition

The Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth launches an exhibition this week to mark the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery.

It has been created to show the crucial role that the Navy played in the abolition of the slave trade by policing the waters between Europe, Africa and America. The display has been created by graphic designer Philip Simpson and uses sepia-toned photographs, maps and etchings to depict the human misery for both the slaves condemned to captivity and the sailors forced to spend long months at sea under miserable conditions. Personal accounts are also used to create a narrative for visitors.

Chasing Freedom/ The Royal Navy and the Suppression of the Transatlantic Slave Trade was produced on a budget of £30 000 and involved the commissioning of original photography. Simpson worked with reprographic specialist UVI to create the exhibition.

The designer also collaborated with Deborah Hodson, learning development officer at the Royal Naval Museum, to create an ‘accurate and strong’ narrative for the display. She says that Simpson and his team were selected from the 23 other consultancies which pitched for the work because the graphics ‘really stood out’.

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