Dr Madge Dresser

About me

I am now Visting Senior Research Fellow  after many years as an Associate Professor in Social and Cultural British History. Though my focus has been on the 18th century I've become increasingly interested in contemporary history and social justice issues and in brokering new ways of collaborating with artists, writers and filmmakers​​. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts,my longstanding interest in ‘history from below’  led to my heading a Heritage Lottery Fund project on ethnic minorities in Bristol for the Institute of Historical Research in 2005-2007, and has more lately evolved into a wider engagement with public history  as evidenced by the work  I've published on popular memory,memorialisation and the legacy of slavery in contemporary Britain and on slavery and the British country house. 
In 2013 I co-edited a book for Historic England (then English Heritage) on Slavery and the British Country House and since then edited and co-authored Women and the City: Bristol 1373-2000 which came out in 2016 and contributed a chapter on slavery and country houses for The Treasure Houses of Britain edited by David Cannadine and Jeremey Musson due out in 2017 as well as entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography​. My future plans are to finish an article on Lady Apsley Bristol's first woman MP  and write up some longstanding work on Anglo-American slavery networks. I also plan to work on  issues of belonging and identity as they relate to Somalis in contemporary Britain, and to the politics of Black and Jewish relations in Britain and America.   I've been involved in various broadcasts  for  BBC telelvision and radio, and invited to front public engagement events at Tate Britain, Bristol's Watershed and the University of Bristol. More recently I've advised Runnymede Trust on the history of immigration to the UK for schools,  given invited papers at the Universities of London, Oxford, Bristol and Sussex as well as presentations at local history groups and schools and have recently written online publications on the Rhodes and Colston statue controversies for the Royal Institute of British Architects and Open Democracy

Area of expertise

The history of slavery, questions of national identity and the position of ethnic and religious minorities in British society  feature in most of my work.

My Publications