Colonial Countryside project featured on A Place in the Country

ITV programme explores research into connections between English country houses, Africa, the Caribbean and East India Company.

A child-led writing and history project led by Dr Corinne Fowler, Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature, has this week been featured on ITV’s A Place in the Country programme.

The project, Colonial Countryside: National Trust Houses Reinterpreted, assembles authors, historians and primary pupils to explore country houses’ connections to Africa, Caribbean and the East India Company.

In partnership with Peepal Trees Press and the National Trust, there are 100 primary schoolchildren involved in the project which is child-led. From child advisory boards at their local country houses, to recommendations of guidebooks for children, the project aims to make country houses’ colonial connections widely known.

Dr Fowler, from our School of Arts, said: “The Colonial Countryside project is helping the National Trust to research individual houses’ colonial dimensions and to make those connections more visible and obvious to visitors. It’s not about making history fit with our contemporary concerns: it’s much more about helping to fill in the gaps now that we have new historical information.

“I consider this ITV series to be a real success – well researched, subtle, wide-ranging, balanced, with depth and human appeal – and that it will have made a real contribution to combatting the idea that BAME visitors do not belong in the countryside.”

The 100 children have already visited 10 National Trust houses as part of the project. Each child has crafted fiction and short essays on the topic, helping the next generation of archivists, curators, historians and writers to gain expertise on this important topic.