UncoverED launch second phase of exhibition

UncoverED, an Edinburgh Global funded project, focuses on uncovering the history of some of the University’s forgotten graduates.

From 1 April the exhibition, hosted in the Chrystal Macmillan building, will go back in time to cover the period 1800-1939, to tell the stories of some of our very earliest international students.

The UncoverED project is working to rediscover Edinburgh alumni from around the world who have slipped through the cracks of history.

The project is led by Henry Mitchell and Tom Cunningham with the help of student researchers. They have found a number of alumni who have made important contributions to society, as well as incredible achievements during their life, which have not been fully recognised until now.

The exhibition is currently running and will be hosted in the Chrystal Macmillan building until the end of May. Because there have been so many people discovered, the exhibition features a rotating display, each focusing on a different period of time and covering different themes.

The update, which will take place on 1 April, will see the exhibition change to focus on alumni from the University between 1800-1939.

To mark the opening of the new phase there will be an interactive workshop, ‘Decolonising Art Institutions’, which will discuss the history of black artists at the University of Edinburgh and re-imagine an inclusive history of these alumni.

About the exhibition

The exhibition's next phase will focus on some of the earlier BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethic) alumni, such as William Fergusson who is the first known black student to have matriculated at the University in 1809.

It will also bring focus to alumni such as James “Africanus” Beale Horton, who is considered to be the University’s first African graduate, and Agnes Yewande Savage, an award-winning medical graduate who was West Africa’s first female doctor.

The exhibition started with a sold-out launch event in January which was attended by members of the public as well as the University community.

The first phase of the exhibition focused on the time frame 1940-1980 and highlighted notable alumni such as Ansuyah Singh who became South Africa’s first Indian author, Flora Nwapa a African feminist author who helped to reunite children displaced by war, and David Pitt who was one of the first black parliamentarians.

In researching and publicising these notable alumni it has led to a greater awareness of these alumni around the University. PhD students and members of staff recently voted to have the School of Social and Political Science PhD research spaced named after Dr Kesaveloo Goonam, an African medic and freedom fighter who graduated in from the University in 1936.

Lead researchers Henry Mitchell and Tom Cunningham discuss the aims of the project and some of the important alumni that have been uncovered so far.

UncoverED website

Find out more about the project and the alumni discovered so far on the project website.

UncoverED website