Meet the Global Threads team

Sibia Akhtar

Sibia completed her Master of History in September 2020, funded by a scholarship from the Aziz Foundation. She focused on issues of race and racism in modern Britain and ways to make that history more accessible using public history approaches.

Sibia recently served on the Society of Readers and Writers for the Portico Prize to judge a selection of books and poems which best evoked the ‘spirit of the North’.

Her research with the Global Threads Public History project focuses on retelling the history of Elk Mill as well as the significance of South Asian textiles in shaping leisure activities and political resistance. These stories are often hidden so her work here is to uncover the rich histories in hope that people will learn more about these local stories and their global connections.

Sibia’s Global Threads:

A Visitor in Lancashire

Global shifts

Megan Bridgeland

I am currently completing my MSc in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester, having completed my BSc in Biology with Science and Society in 2020.

I am particularly interested in exploring ‘history from below’, and the current drive to make museums and public engagement spaces more accessible and sociably responsible. Working on this project, I was excited to have the opportunity to amplify the day-to-day, remarkable resistances of enslaved people, while researching themes of cuisine and crafts.

I hope that these stories will be an engaging way for Mancunians to explore darker sides of our history, and reflect on our historical ­— and present day — links to Africa and The Americas.

Megan’s Global Threads:

Creativity, craft and community

Caribbean foodways

Cameron Christie

I graduated in 2021 from an MA in Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester and have been focussing on documenting experiences of gentrification in DIY music scenes. After working on Global Threads I would like to work on making documentary films and putting on local music events.

Writing a case study for Global Threads interested me because I wanted to investigate the strategies and tactics of marginalised communities as well develop a historical narrative that focussed less on specific politicians and more on characterising the daily experiences of ordinary people.

Cameron’s Global Threads:

Riots, rebels and rhymes

William Douch

I am a recent graduate from the University of Kent and University College London, where I studied History at both institutions. I have always been intrigued by Britain’s colonial past and the global effect it has had and it was a central part of my degrees. I wanted to get involved in the Global Threads project because wanted to continue this interest in Britain’s colonial past by exploring how local cities have significant ties and connections to different locations throughout the world.

William’s Global Threads:

Frederick Douglass in Manchester

From Green Park to Quay Street

Holly French

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, on the traditional unceded territory of the Matsqui, Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo First Nations, Holly did her BA in History at Simon Fraser University and her MA in History at University College London, where she hopes to return for a PhD. Her primary research interest is in late British decolonisation and its impact on the British metropole and on Anglo-Canadian relations.

As a descendent of the Irish diaspora herself, she enjoyed researching the history of the Mancunian Irish and their turmoil and triumphs in the nineteenth century and using her creative writing skills to transmit these stories to the public as part of this project.

Holly’s Global Threads:

The Irish in nineteenth-century Manchester

Tiger Ritchie

I’m an aspiring documentary filmmaker, who over the past five years has worked hard to attain two degrees based in practical social research. During my BSC in Sociology, my research was centred on racism, identity, inequality and social policy. During my MSC in Visual Anthropology, my final project explored the future of public art, its relationship to the representation of minorities and changing urban materialities.

Reflecting on where my interest in this subject area originates from, I think back to school, where we’re taught about the industrial revolution and the role of the cotton industry within this. Somewhat worryingly, there was never mention of where the cotton came from, nor the labour of enslaved persons, which this industry so heavily relied on.

This is why I chose to focus my research towards exploring Manchester’s connection to women’s experiences in the Sea Islands through their connection within the cotton industry. My ambition for this project is for people to reflect on the way in which history is taught, by sparking an interest in people to uncover the gaps that have been established within mainstream attention.

Tiger’s Global Threads:

From Ancoats to the Sea Islands

Serena Robinson

I graduated from Manchester University in 2019 with a MA in Social Anthropology. I’m interested in gender and race and how these intersect to affect the everyday lives of people.

Doing this research allowed me to explore gender and race through a historical lens via Sarah Parker Remond and her visit to Manchester in 1859. I hope that this research highlights the power of Black women throughout history.

Serena’s Global Threads:

Sarah Parker Remond

Katie Belshaw

Katie Belshaw is Senior Curator at the Science and Industry Museum. She looks after the museum’s industrial heritage collections, including objects and stories relating to Manchester’s textiles industry.

Katie is interested in understanding more about the global connections that shaped Manchester’s industrialisation, as well as the impact Manchester’s textiles trade had on people and places around the world.

Matthew J. Smith

Matt is Director of the CSLBS and Professor of Caribbean History at UCL. He is proud to be part of a project that highlights the close yet often invisible connections between Manchester’s history and the history of slavery and emancipation in the Americas.

Projects like Global Threads contribute through public history and engagement to the building of community knowledge and awareness of these often difficult histories.

Matthew Stallard

Matt has lived, worked, and studied in Manchester for 17 years. He is a researcher and public history project manager at the Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slavery, UCL.

His work focuses on uncovering lived experiences of class, race, and identities and the deep entwining of industrialisation and colonisation and de-industrialisation and post-colonisation, particularly focused on his adopted Mancunian home and his native Black Country.

This project has been supported by the UCL UK Office, supporting the development of collaborations and research impact across the UK.