Outrage after the re-enactment of a slave auction was performed at UoL
The performance was perceived as ‘ill-judged’ and ‘plain wrong’
Academics have been criticised after choosing to hold a re-enactment of a slave auction during a clinical psychology conference at the University of Liverpool.
It was described by attendees as 'ill-judged' and 'unexpected.'
The conference ran by Group of Trainers provided no warning the performance would be taking place.
As a result of the backlash, the British Psychological Society have apologised, confessing they had not 'thought sufficiently' about how the re-enactment would affect those who watched it.
Many of those who attended the performance were left feeling uneasy and emotionally distressed. Trainee clinical psychologist Samantha Rennalls was forced to ask if 'clinical psychology [is] a safe place to be for black people? Are we seen? Does anybody actually care?'
I haven’t been able to find the energy or words to fully bring this to twitter so thanks to those who are breaking the deafening silence.
I still have so many questions.
Is clinical psychology a safe place to be for black people? Are we even seen? Does anyone actually care? https://t.co/N0eX2hEwf1
— Dr Samantha Rennalls (@Dr_SJRennalls) November 13, 2019
Another clinical psychologist Chris Jones took to twitter to comment on the insensitive performance and said: 'the re-enactments of the slave auction at #GTiCP2019 was a shameful day in the history of British Clinical Psychology.'
The British Psychological Society, who organised the event, have issued an apology statement explaining their reasoning for this controversial performance. They said the Toxteth-based group were invited to perform a display about the slave trade as part of the 'more challenging social programme' of the conference.
There was not a mock slave auction at the conference, but a themed performance from a theatre group. We have published an apology and an explanation of what took place here https://t.co/fFdVd6M3YQ
— British Psychological Society (@BPSOfficial) November 14, 2019
They continued: 'despite being a suitable anti-racist performance as part of Black History Month and for the International Slavery Museum, where there is trust in the intentions of the organisers, it was not suited to the nature or the timing of the event.'
The statement goes on to say they are aware of the city's previous links to exploitative, colonial history and the performance was intended to display as a step away from the history of representing people of colour through slavery.
The University of Liverpool said in the future they will give support to staff surrounding what is and is not appropriate to include in these types of events.