Support for national recommendations on empire, slavery, and colonialism

Council Leader Cammy Day and ESCLRIG Chair Irene Mosota react to the news that the Scottish Government has accepted new recommendations on empire, slavery, and colonialism.

The Scottish Government indicated last month that it has accepted in full the six recommendations of an independent group set up to advise on how Scotland’s museums and galleries can better reflect the country’s role in empire, colonialism, and historic slavery.

The Empire, Slavery and Scotland’s Museums (ESSM) Steering Group was established following a motion in the Scottish Parliament and commitment in the 2020 Programme for Government. The six recommendations address workplace behaviours, research, and repatriation amongst other key issues. The full recommendations can be viewed on the Scottish Government’s website.   

Recommendation 9 of the Edinburgh Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Implementation Group which was agreed in August 2022 directs that the Council and ESCLRIG to endorse the work of ESSM.

Council Leader Cammy Day said:

It’s really encouraging to see that the Scottish Government has agreed to all the expert recommendations of the ESSM steering group in order to better recognise address our country’s role in empire, colonialism and historic slavery.

Here in Edinburgh, one of the recommendations of our own Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Group was to endorse the work of this steering group, and I’m pleased we have got to this stage.

We remain committed to addressing the past and forging the foundations for a more tolerant, just, and equal capital city in the future.

Irene Mosota, Chair of Edinburgh Slavery and Colonialism Legacy Review Implementation Group (ESCLRIG) said:

I am delighted to learn that Scottish Government has accepted all six of the recommendations proposed by the ESSM Steering Group.  The work to acknowledge Scotland’s role in the history of slavery and colonialism is an essential first step to addressing its many corrosive impacts such as racism and discrimination which still hurt and hinder people across our nation today.  In Edinburgh, ESCLRIG has been commissioned by The City of Edinburgh Council to implement the recommendations of a city-wide review into this legacy, which includes specific actions for cultural organisations, and specifically, its museums. 

I am aware that Museums & Galleries Edinburgh is committed to being an anti-racist organisation and is working to develop its decolonising practice.  We look forward to advising and supporting the Service in fully aligning its work with that of ESSM and the aims of ESCLRIG, and collaborating fully to ensure our capital city plays its full part in delivering our shared objectives.


Published: February 6th 2024