30 September 2019

Sir Geoff Palmer to support graphic novel launch by Finzean School

On Tuesday 1st October Birse Community Trust and Finzean Primary School will welcome a special guest to Finzean for the launch of a new book and a free public talk.

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE who is widely recognised for his work as a human rights activist, as well as being Jamaica’s Hon Consul in Scotland and Professor Emeritus in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, will join pupils, staff and special guests for the launch of ‘Aye, it wis aabody’, a graphic novel that tells the story of Scotland’s role in the Caribbean slave trade.

The book is the culmination of a year-long community heritage project that explored the links between Birse and chattel slavery in the Caribbean. The project focussed on the establishment of Finzean Primary School (then Bankhead Endowed School) in 1732, with funds from the sale of enslaved people in Barbados.

With the help of the community heritage group, pupils in Finzean explored the history of the school, the lives of past pupils and links with the Caribbean over the centuries. They also studied the slave trade and its legacies and are partnering Sir Geoff’s former primary school in Kingston to learn more about their shared history with Jamaica.

The graphic novel was developed by Magic Torch Comics, following workshops with the pupils. Beautifully illustrated by Mhairi M Robertson, the book is a much-needed primary school resource on Scotland’s role in the slave trade. It will be distributed to every primary school in Aberdeenshire, every pupil at a partner school in Jamaica and will be available online. Copies will also be on sale on the day and in local bookshops.

Following the school launch Sir Geoff will stay on in Finzean to give a free evening talk on Scotland’s slavery history at Birse & Feughside Parish Church from 7pm. Sir Geoff will be familiar to many people for his recent television and radio appearances speaking on Scotland’s slave trade history. His appearance in Finzean on 1st October will be a rare chance for people in the NE to hear him speak.

Refreshments will be served after the talk and visitors will be able to view a display on the ‘Aye, it wis aabody’ project and purchase the book. The venue is fully accessible and there is free parking.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee commented: “We are so pleased to see this fantastic example of partnership working coming together. The pupils have gained new insights and a better understanding of their local area from working with the community trust to bring their local history and heritage to life.”