Race and Heritage in Scotland

During 2020, the Black Lives Matter and anti-racism movements have thrown the consequences and legacies of the past into sharper focus. In Scotland, buildings, monuments, public spaces and street names have become a touchstone for discussions and action on racism, slavery, empire and colonialism. As a sector, we can struggle to find a way to approach such contentious topics.
In its role as advocate for a more diverse heritage, the Scottish Civic Trust warmly invites you to participate in our annual conference. We’ll discuss issues of race and heritage in Scotland and take the opportunity to reflect critically on our country’s approach using examples from further afield. We will learn about how we can come to terms with difficult histories and share it as part of a more inclusive understanding of Scotland’s built environment and cultural heritage.
We want this virtual conference to be welcoming and safe space. Caretaking guidance will be distributed in advance of the conference and reiterated on the day.

Join us on 2nd December via Zoom – book here!


09:30 – Welcome; introductions; caretaking

09:45 – Examples of Black and Indigenous histories in Scotland

  • The historical Black presence in Edinburgh (Lisa Williams, Edinburgh Caribbean Association)
  • Understanding the Sacred Places of Scotland’s Travellers (Davie Donaldson, Conyach Advocacy & Engagement and chair, Romano Lav)

10:45 – Break

11:00 – Scotland’s built environment and Slavery

  • Heritage: Here it is! Reparative justice and the street scene of Scotland’s slavery legacy (Councillor Graham Campbell, Flag Up Scotland Jamaica)
  • South Glasgow’s Heritage and Legacies of Slavery (Saskia McCracken & Mark McGregor, South Glasgow Heritage and Environmental Trust)

11:45 – Morning Q&A

12:15 – Lunch break (We’ve lined up some facilitated discussions & videos for the lunch break, so feel free to join us for a natter while you grab a quick bite!)


  • We Are Culture: Tips and case studies for inclusive and accessible events and activities (Nicola Godsal, Scottish Civic Trust)
  • My Place Mentoring Scheme: how you can get involved! (Jamie McNamara, Scottish Civic Trust)
  • Food as Heritage (Thistles and Dandelions volunteers)


  • Aye, it wis aabody: slavery legacies in rural Scotland (Sian Loftus, Birse Community Trust, Aberdeenshire)
  • Promoting Diversity and Cultural Engagement in Heritage (Ghzala Khan, West of Scotland Regional Equality Council)
  • And more to follow…

13:15 – Keynote speaker

Brent Leggs, Executive Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

14:00 – Reassessing the built environment, collections and catalogues

  • Managing Imperial Legacies: Networking platforms, Covid Responses and Collaborative Engagements (Dr Kirsten Carter McKee, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh)
  • Designs Unseen: dispatching monuments of/to colonial excess (Killian Doherty, Lecturer in Architecture and Urbanism, University of Edinburgh)
  • Revisiting Paisley Pattern in the Post-Colonial Era for New Museum Displays (Catriona Baird, Textiles Curator, Paisley Museum)
  • Bound by language? Assessing and addressing representation in the archives: Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion internship at the National Library of Scotland (Carissa Chew, Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion intern, National Library of Scotland)

15:00 – Afternoon Q&A 1

15:30 – Break

1545 – Tackling discrimination; supporting participation and representation

  • It’s Only Just Begun – De-colonisation, Racism & Organisational Change… (Grant Mackenzie, David Livingstone Birthplace Trust)
  • Thistles & Dandelions: Opening Up Heritage (Fizza Kaneez, Romy Galloway, Manar Melhi, Cat Dunn, Hina Hussain and Rumaisa Zubairi, poet, Empowering Women for Change)
  • I Belong: a story of struggle and success (Sakeena and Zamin Sheikh)
  • Redress and progress: Addressing racism in the 21st Century (Garvin Sealy, EqualiTree CIC)

16:45 – Afternoon Q&A 2

17:15 – Final thoughts and thanks

17:30 – Close


Tickets are offered on a sliding scale from £5 – £15. General admission (£15) is for those who are waged, and concession (£5) is for Scottish Civic Trust’s affiliated groups, those who are unwaged and students.

We also have free places available for the conference – please contact Erin.Burke@scottishcivictrust.org.uk to book a free place if the ticket prices would otherwise prohibit you from joining us.

Please contact us directly if you would like to pay for a ticket via invoice at sct@scottishcivictrust.org.uk.