Edward Colston statue to go on display at Bristol's M Shed with survey to decide 'what next?'

Protesters pulled down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol
The statue of 17th-century slave trader Colston was toppled on 7 June during a Black Lives Matter protest.

The statue of Edward Colston will go on display from 4 June 2021.

'Colston statue: What next?' will be a temporary exhibition at Bristol's M Shed.

The exhibition aims to start a conversation about the city history.

The #WeAreBristol History Commission will be leading the conversation with the public over the coming months.

To determine what to do with the statue in the long-run, visitors will be asked to completed a survey to share their thoughts.

The statue of the 17th century slave trader was toppled on 7 June during a Black Lives Matter protest.

After its retrieval from the harbour, the conservation team at M Shed cleaned the statue and stabilised the spray paint graffiti to prevent flaking. The bike tyre that emerged from the water with the statue will also form part of the display.

  • Watch how the statue was restored

Speaking about the exhibition Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: "The future of the statue must be decided by the people of Bristol, so I urge everyone to take part in the public survey.

"The 7 June 2020 is undoubtedly a significant day in Bristol's history and had a profound impact not just in our city but across the country and around the world."

Professor Tim Cole, Chair of the We Are Bristol History Commission and Professor of Social History at the University of Bristol, said: “This is an opportunity for everyone to have your say on how we move forward together.

"The display is not a comprehensive exhibition about Colston or transatlantic slavery in Bristol, but it is intended to be a departure point for continuing conversations about our shared history.’’

The statue of Edward Colston was toppled and pushed into the harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

M Shed entry is free but visits must be booked in advance to keep the galleries Covid-19 secure.

Fran Coles, Conservation and Documentation Manager at M Shed, said the display will "enable visitors to take stock and make their own minds up concerning the future of the statue".

She added: "The display and survey will also be online, helping to reach people across the city and beyond.” 

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