Leeds Museums and Galleries recognises that key aspects of the UK’s history are connected to the relationship with enslaved and colonised people and places across the world.
Many objects in our collection were acquired during the 1700s to the mid-1900s. This was a period of immense change in parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, due to the impact of European colonial powers such as Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, all seeking to expand their areas of control. This led to unequal power relations with the people they encountered and was a time when many problematic views and attitudes regarding other cultures were formed.
Addressing and challenging this legacy is important to ensure the collection remains relevant to the people of Leeds now. It is important to staff across the service and to many aspects of our work. Our aim is to understand these relationships and continually question our assumptions, working practices, and how we present historical narratives to our audiences.
Our collections development policy is available to view online, and includes our approach to repatriation and restitution.