Thursday 15 April 2021

Rowntree Colonial Histories: A Statement

As custodians of the archives of Rowntree & Co, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (JRRT) we welcome today’s acknowledgements from The Rowntree Society and Trusts of the company’s historic involvement in colonialism and racial exploitation.

The archives of the Rowntree company, family and trusts document their lives, work, and beliefs and are an important resource that enables us to examine - and re-examine - how their wealth was created. The statement of the Rowntree Society and Rowntree Trusts draws on archives which are available to researchers here at the Borthwick Institute and which can be searched through our online catalogue Borthcat.

We will continue to collaborate closely with our research community, including the Society and Trusts, to facilitate, encourage and undertake research into colonialism and exploitative practices as well as challenging ourselves by critically interrogating our own curatorial practices and assumptions.

Archives are important repositories of our collective heritage. We have a responsibility to acknowledge the full cultural importance of the records in our care, and to direct our efforts to ensure that the voices of those who have been dismissed and marginalised are recognised, heard and amplified - now and in the future.

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