‘The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true’ Frederick Douglass

Location: Entrance, Tobacco Merchant’s House, Miller Street
Running times: Every 15 minutes between 9am-5.30pm Monday-Friday

Performed by:
Tawona Sithole as Frederick Douglass
Paksie Vernon as Frederick’s Mother

As part of the Merchant City public pilot art programme, author Louise Welsh and architect Jude Barber of Collective Architecture have collaborated on a series of soundscapes exploring Glasgow’s involvement in the tobacco and sugar industries, and contemporary responses to the system of forced labour that it depended on – the transatlantic slave trade.

The sound installations draw on writings by Frederick Douglas – a freed slave, and also imagine the viewpoints of the city merchants, slaves and abolitionists. Each of the buildings and sites where the soundscapes are located were built with wealth generated by forced labour or associated with abolitionism. The seven pieces were written by Louise Welsh.

The project was commissioned by Glasgow City Council and has been recorded with the help of professional actors, and students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Technical design and installation was carried out by sound and light company Northern Light.

Project team:

Writer/Creative Design: Louise Welsh
Architect/Creative Design: Jude Barber
Installers/Technical Design: Northern Light –
Colin Cuthbert, Andy Littler, Steven Lugton, John Harkness

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