Traces of slavery: join the conversation on 5 July

Invitation to conversation on research on slavery history

On 5 July, Utrecht University is organising a morning programme on research into slavery history. Representatives of the Surinamese-Caribbean community, staff and students will join the conversation about research on slavery at Utrecht University, the university's own part and the contemporary effects of the slavery past. 


Joyce Sylvester will deliver an introduction. She is chair of the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism. And she is also Academic Fellow of the Faculty of Law, Economics, Governance & Organisation.

This will be followed by short presentations by researchers and students. Recently, research on slavery history and related topics has been carried out in various ways. With poster presentations, students show their results.

An important part of the programme will be conversations with attendees about this research and the impact of the slavery past to this day, both within the university and beyond. Utrecht University itself has had links with slavery. Do we have sufficient insight into this part of our history? What can and should we do with the legacies of slavery? This talk will be led by Migaisa Poeketi, board member of Keti Koti Utrecht.

The complete programme:

  • 9:00 - 9:30: Walk-in with coffee and poster presentations
  • 9:30 - 9:40: Performance by Black Harmony         
  • 9:40 - 9:50: Welcome by Henk Kummeling, rector magnificus of Utrecht University
  • 9:50 - 10:10: Introduction by Joyce Silvester. She is chair of the State Commission against Discrimination and Racism. She is also Academic Fellow of the Faculty of Law, Economics, Governance & Organisation
  • 10:10 - 10:50: Discussion round 1: the impact of the past
  • 10:50 - 11:20: Break with poster presentations
  • 11:20 - 11:25: Performance by Black Harmony
  • 11:25 - 11:55: Discussion round 2: the role of the university
  • 11:55 - 12:05: Closing by James Kennedy, chairman of the Steering Committee on  slavery history and colonialism
  • 12:05 - 12:10: Performance by Black Harmony
  • 12:15 - 13:00: Lunch with with poster presentations


In spring 2023, Utrecht University formed a committee tasked with connecting and making visible various faculty initiatives around the university's slavery past. The committee, led by James Kennedy, will explain on 5 July how the university intends to account for its slavery past in the coming period and discuss this with those present.


Those interested are most welcome and can register from now on.

  • Time: 9:00 - 13:00. Walk-in from 9:00 am, programme starts at 9:30 am. The programme will be concluded with a lunch.
  • Location: Janskerkhof 3, Utrecht
  • More information:

We need your help!

Have you done research, a (research) question or other feelings around the topic of slavery past or colonialism? Then we would like you to share this with us via a poster that will be displayed during the event (we will arrange and pay fort he printing). The poster may be about research, a (research) question or your concerns on the topic of slavery history or colonialism. The design is up to you (text, just a quote, collage, etc. Tip: use Canva).

  • Format: A3 (297x420 mm) - vertical;
  • Submit in pdf format;
  • Mail to:;
  • Deadline: Sunday 25 June 2023.