Our people

Our team is made up of scholars, research fellows, postgraduate students and affiliates. Together they study both historical and contemporary exploitation, gaining unique insights to help in the fight to eradicate modern slavery in all of its forms

Research community

Trevor Burnard

Director of the Wilberforce Institute for Slavery and Emancipation


Senior Lecturer in Diaspora History

Dr Evans' research focuses on voluntary and coerced migration to, through and from Britain.

Cassandra Gooptar
Dr Cassandra Gooptar

Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Dr Gooptar focuses on stories of the enslaved and exploring the links between British organisations and historical slavery.

Dr Simon Green

Professor of Criminology and Victimology

Professor Green's research is primarily in the fields of victimology, vulnerabilities and crime control.

Dr Alicia Heys

Lecturer in Modern Slavery

Dr Heys works with the Risk Assessment Service to identify potential risks of labour exploitation in business supply chains and pursues research related to all forms of 'modern slavery' and human trafficking.

Daniel Ogunniyi 2

Lecturer in Modern Slavery

Dr Ogunniyi's interests lie in the areas of modern slavery, children’s rights, human rights, and international law broadly construed, with a particular focus on Africa.

Zahra Shirgholami
Dr Zahra Shirgholami

Lecturer in Modern Slavery

Dr Shirgholami's interests include forced labour and modern slavery, precarious forms of work, business and human rights, sustainable supply chains and enterprises, and governance.

Andrew Smith New

Manager, Justice Hub and Coordinator of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership.

Andrew brings 10 years’ experience as a practitioner working with at-risk groups to coordinate the Anti-Slavery agenda across Humberside.

Judith Spicksley New

Lecturer at the Wilberforce Institute

Dr Spicksley is an economic and social historian whose research currently focuses on the relationship between enslavement and debt.


Director of Modern Slavery Risk Assessments/ Head of Business Risk Assessment Services

Ms Talens advises businesses on how to eradicate slavery from their supply chains.

PhD community

James Baker
James Baker

Falling through the net PhD cluster

Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Evans and Dr Judith Spicksley

Mavuto Kambochola Banda cropped
Mavuto Kambochola Banda

Living with the consequences of slavery PhD cluster

Supervisors: Dr Elsbeth Robson, Dr Judith Spicksley and Professor Lewis Holloway

Fred Bricknell
Fred Bricknell

Water, Slavery, and Unfree Labour in the Nineteenth-Century British Empire

Supervisors: Professor Trevor Burnard and Professor Briony McDonagh

Jasmine Holding
Jasmine Holding Brown

Falling through the net PhD cluster

Supervisors: Dr Judith Spicksley and Dr Mick Wilkinson

Sarah Colley web thumbnail
Sarah Colley

Researching the perpetrators of organised child sexual exploitation across the UK

Saphia Fleury
Saphia Fleury

Falling through the net PhD cluster

Supervisors: Professor Dan Parsons and Professor Trevor Burnard

Tom Hammond

Surveillance, migration and identity in Brexit Britain

Supervisors: Dr Michael McCahill and Dr Nicola O'Leary

Adiva Lawrence
Adiva Lawrence

The memorialisation of transatlantic slavery in museums of black heritage and the uses of art

Supervisors: Professor Helen Johnston and Dr Susan Ashley (Northumbria University)

Rajib Mustofa

Differential characteristics of marginalization and vulnerability of sexual minority groups to exploitation in South Asian countries: The Transgender community in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan

Jennifer Nghishitende
N. Jennifer Nghishitende

Living with the consequences of slavery PhD cluster

Supervisors: Professor Helen Johnston and Dr Alicia Kidd

Lance Parker
Lance Parker

Survivalists: Communities and kinship in enslaved and Maroon societies during the 17th and 18th centuries in South Carolina and the Caribbean.

Supervisors: Professor Trevor Burnard and Dr Nicholas Evans

Charlotte Russell
Charlotte Russell

Contemporary Slavery and The Refugee Child: Human trafficking risks in European refugee camps

Supervisors: Professor Simon Green and Dr Alicia Kidd

isabel arcy zelada
Isabel Arce Zelada

Living with the consequences of slavery PhD cluster

Supervisors: Professor Simon Green and Dr Alicia Kidd


Professor Helen Johnston

Professor of Criminology

Professor Johnston is an expert in the history of crime and punishment from the year 1750 onwards.

Gerry Johnstone
Professor Gerry Johnstone

Professor of Law

Professor Johnstone's interests include punishment, restorative justice and overcriminalisation.

Professor John Oldfield

Emeritus Professor of History and Emancipation

A former director of the Wilberforce Institute, Professor Oldfield’s interests lie in the history of slavery and abolition.

Professor David Richardson

Emeritus Professor and a former director of the Wilberforce Institute, as well as one of its three original founders.

Professor Richardson is a leading expert on slavery, and on the transatlantic slave trade in particular.

Michael Turner
Professor Michael Turner

Emeritus Professor

Professor Michael Turner is one of the three original founders of the Wilberforce Institute, although his expertise lies in land tenure, and in particular the history of copyhold land.

Dr Mick Wilkinson

Lecturer in Race and Social Justice

Dr Wilkinson’s research interests include 21st century slavery and transnational organised crime.

Honorary fellows and honorary associates


Chair of Global History, University of Leeds

Craig Barlow
Dr Craig Barlow

Independent Forensic Social Work Consultant & Criminologist

He has acted as an expert adviser to police and prosecutors in cases of trafficking and modern slavery since 2014. His doctoral research developed a new theoretical model for understanding, describing and explaining Child Criminal Exploitation


School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at the Victoria University

Gifty Burrows

Educator and Project Lead

Freelance - working to broaden historic and contemporary narratives to include people of African descent.


Head of Advocacy at Eurochild


Honorary Research Fellow at the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull

Kate Hodgson

Lecturer in French, University College, Cork

Research interests are focused in the areas of Francophone Postcolonial Studies and Slavery Studies.


Professor of Scottish and Irish History and Director of the Centre for Global Migrations, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Professor McCarthy’s research interests cover a range of global migrations including the forced migration of slaves and refugees.

Jeff Morgan
Dr Jeff Morgan

Physician/Psychiatrist (retired)

He is concerned with modern slavery amongst asylum seekers & third world workers with asbestos & other hazardous materials

Karen Okra

Community activist and champion of female and race equality

She has helped the Wilberforce Institute strengthen its involvement in Black History Month across Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. She served on the board of the UK City of Culture (2017) and Freedom Festival (2008 to present)


Professor in Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

His research focuses upon slavery and abolition, human mobility and human rights, repairing historical wrongs, and the history and politics of sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Anthony Rabin

Honorary Research Fellow

Research on History of the Jewish People in the Greco Roman Period and Slavery in the Ancient World

Chandler Saint
Chandler B. Saint

Honorary Research Fellow

Co-director of VENTURESMITH.org and President of Beecher House Center for Equal Rights


Professor of History, Politics and Sociology, University of Worcester

Dr Meghna Singh

Honorary Research Fellow

I work with mediums of video and installation, blurring boundaries between documentary and fiction to create immersive environments highlighting issues of 'humanism'


PhD candidate in visual research funded through the North of England Consortium for Arts and Humanities (NECAH) at the University of Hull.

James Wavin

Professor of History Emeritus at the University of York.


Teacher of Religious Studies, History and Classics

Research interests focus on the histories and legacies of slavery, lessons for today and education, truth telling and reparations.


Formerly Postdoctoral Researcher at the Wilberforce Institute, Dr Wills studies Britain's role in historic slavery and abolition.

Zahedieh photo KH
Nuala Zahedieh

Honorary Research Fellow

Research: Slavery in the early modern British Atlantic economy with a focus on the Caribbean.