The Society of Antiquaries of London regrets the links between some of our past Fellows and the slave trade. Today, the Society stands in support of Black people and strives for equality and inclusion within its membership. We recognise that our current membership profile, like the sector it represents, does not reflect this aspiration; and we are working to address the lack of diversity in gender, race and background. We, like others, are using this time to reflect, learn and listen in order to make the changes that need to happen within our organisation. Scholarship should be open and accessible to everyone and it is vital we listen to voices from different backgrounds and identities to contribute to this debate. We recognise that our Society was founded in a time when attitudes and moral views were different to our own and we are working to address any issues relating to slavery within our Society and its collection. For example, we are presently developing a project that will make our historic archives (which stretch back to 1707) digitally accessible and will welcome research into past Fellows with links to the transatlantic slave trade. At Kelmscott Manor, our historic property in Oxfordshire, we will be launching an extensive education and community involvement programme aimed at the BAME community once major repairs to the property are complete.
In line with our mission of conservation, research and dissemination, we will be seeking to support better understanding of contested heritage which includes contentious monuments so that people can make informed choices about their future. We understand that we have a lot of work to do in this area and are actively doing so.