Dr Hannah Jeffery (Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship)
Please feel free to email me and we can organise a time to chat!
I am a Leverhulme Early Careers Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh working on a book project titled, "Beauty in the Struggle: Black Murals from Slavery to the Cold War." I completed my PhD at the University of Nottingham in American Studies in 2019 and have a forthcoming book with Georgia University Press titled, "A Monument to Blackness: Murals and the Black Freedom Movement, from Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter."
I specialise in visual cultures, Black and diasporic art, histories, politics, cultures and radicalism in the United States from 19th century to present day, with a strong focus on the twentieth century movement for Black Power.
PhD, American Studies, University of Nottingham (2019) - A Monument to Blackness: Mural and the Black Freedom Movement
MRes, American Studies University of Nottingham (2015) - A Place for Fred Hampton: Memorialising a Slain Black Panther
BA Hons International Year, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2012) - School of Liberal Arts
BA Hons in American Studies, University of Nottingham (2013)
Responsibilities & affiliations
Vice-chair for the Scottish Association for the Study of America (SASA)
Current research interestsMy current research looks at the empowering role of Black-created mural art in segregated public spaces in the US, from enslavement to the beginning of the Cold War. It traces the murals of artists Charles White, Aaron Douglas, Hale Woodruff, Charles Alston, Robert Scott Duncanson, William Edouard Scott, and John Biggers, as well as the panoramas of formerly enslaved men like William Wells Brown and Henry 'Box' Brown, and shows how, through these murals, they curated public sites that celebrated Blackness at the height of white supremacy.
Past research interests'A Monument to Blackness: Murals and the Black Freedom Movement from Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter,' looks at Black murals across the US, from the interior murals in the South during the Depression and post-Depression era, to street murals in the North and West at the height of the Black Power Movement, through to Black Lives Matter today. Murals are largely absent from discussions around the movement for Black liberation, but Black mural art was, and still remains to this day, an integral artistic expression in the heart of Black America, offering a uniquely powerful way to celebrate Blackness in the community.
- Curator of ‘Walls of Slavery, Walls of Freedom’ online digital archive October 2016- Present
- Contributor to exhibition, 'Picturing Frederick Douglass: The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century, the Museum of African American History,' Boston Museum of African American History,: June 2016- August 2018
- Guest Speaker on BBC East Midlands Today: December 2017
- Exhibition assistant, 'Journey to Justice Exhibition', National Justice Museum, Nottingham: March 2017 – June 2017
- Contributor “Memory and Activist Art” for Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on ‘Ending Slavery: Strategies for Contemporary Global Abolition”: Nov 2016 - May 2017
- Co-ordinator for Black History Month 2016, Nottingham City Council: October 2016
- Researcher in the preservation of CityArts Workshop archives to the New York- Historical Society, New York: September 2016
- Curator of AHRC-Funded Connected Communities Project at the Utopia Fair Exhibition, Somerset House, London: June 2016
- Co-director of Connected Communities AHRC Mural project, Nottingham (created Black history mural in Nottingham and ran community workshops): February 2016 – June 2016
- Contributor to Teaching Institute on Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American at the Museum of African American History, Boston: June 2016
- (Forthcoming) A Monument to Blackness: Murals and the Black Freedom Movement, from the Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter – Book contract with University of Georgia Press
- (Forthcoming) “In Memoriam: For Eugene Eda Wade, The People’s Artist,” Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, vol. 9, 1, (2022)
- (In progress) “‘Art should be for the many, not for the few”: Black Interior Mural Art of the New Deal Era,’ Smithsonian Archives of American Art Journal, (2022)
- (In progress) ‘The Walls Belong to Us: The Lineage of Black Mural Art from Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter’
- ‘A Monument of Blackness: The Role of Murals in the Black Freedom Movement,’ Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, vol. 7, 1, (Spring 2020)
- “Painting Towards Freedom: The power of murals and street art for modern anti-slavery,” AHRC Press, The Rights Lab, University of Nottingham, (Jan, 2020): 1-23.
- Guest Editor, ‘Research Unchained: The Multidisciplinary Future of Antislavery Studies,’ Special Issue Journal of Modern Slavery, vol. 4, 2, Fall (2018).
- Hannah Jeffery and Hannah-Rose Murray, “A Colossal Work of Art”: Antislavery Methods of Visual Protest From 1845 to 1967” Special Issue Journal of Modern Slavery, vol. 4, 2, Fall (2018): 121-143.
- Hannah Jeffery, ‘Picturing Slavery: Learning from Antislavery Murals,’ Walk Free Foundation, December 2017
- Online Learning Designer, University of Nottingham: August 2019- May 2020
- Teaching Associate, Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham (90 students per year): September 2016- Jan 2020
- Guest Lecture on ‘1960s Murals of the Movement: Black Power and Civil Rights Movement Visual Culture’ for ‘American Aid, Atrocities and Activism: A Visual and Cultural History’ Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham (20 students): March 2018
- Guest Lecture on ‘Memory and Resistance in Visual Culture,’ for ‘Slavery and Liberation’ Anti-Slavery MA Module, Department of Politics and Social Sciences, University of Nottingham (20 students): August 2017
- Guest Workshop, ‘African American History and Culture’ Level 2, Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham (30 students): May 2017
- Guest Lecturer, ‘Slavery and Abolition,’ Level 3 module, Department of American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham (20 students): December 2016
Say Their Names: Murals and Black Lives Matter
In 2015, I started archiving Black Lives Matter murals in the US - murals that depicted the likenesses of those who'd been murdered by police and white supremacist violence, but also murals that encompassed the spirit of the movement. Since 2020, with the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the presence of these murals, not only in America, but across the world, has increased exponentially. In an attempt to preserve this fundamental moment of history we're currently living in, and given that Black Lives Matter murals face defacement and vandalism at an alarming rate, I am building an online digital archive that attempts to catalogue the reach of this artistic movement across the world.
Current project grants
Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship, University of Edinburgh, 2020 - 2023
British Academy / Leverhulme Small Grants Award, (2021 - 2023)
Baird Scholarship, Smithsonian Institute, National Museum of American History and Smithsonian American Art Museum, (2020)
- “Knowing you name only after you’re gone: Murals and Black Lives Matter,” Institute for Black Atlantic Research, Jan 13-14, 2022
- ‘“Africa had no history, and neither did I”: Community Learning in Black Power Murals’, British Association of American Studies (BAAS), April 5 – 11, 2021
- ‘“Africa had no history, and neither did I”: Education, Communication and Learning in 1960s Murals’, Scottish Association for Study of America (SASA), March 6, 2021
- “A Monument of Blackness: The Role of Murals in the Black Freedom Struggle,” at Black Atlantic Authorship and Art: An International Symposium, National Library of Scotland and University of Edinburgh, November 16-17, 2018.
- “Emotions and American Protest” at European and British Association of American Studies (EBAAS), Kings College London, UCL and the British Library, April 4-7, 2018.
- “Walls of Protest, Walls of Pride: America’s Mural Protest from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter” at the conference “From Abolition to Black Lives Matter: Past and Present Forms of Transnational Black Resistance,” at the Transnational American Studies Institute, Johannes- Gutenberg, Mainz, Germany, October 26-28, 2017.
- “Walls of Protest, Walls of Pride: Murals of the Black Community” on panel “Black Lives Mattered: New Formulations of African American Community in the 1960s,” British Association of American Studies (BAAS), Canterbury Christ Church University, April 6-8, 2017.
- “Using 19th Century Abolitionist Aesthetics in the 1960s Black Power Movement.” Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, Hull, October 16-17, 2015.