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Oliver Ayers

Dr. Ayers is an Associate Professor in History at Northeastern University of London, where he also leads the research cluster focused on Cities: Past, Present and Future. His research centres on themes of race, urban space and digital historical analysis. His first monograph, Laboured Protest, was published by Routledge in 2019 and examined Black civil rights activism in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. He has written numerous articles based on racial protest in American cities in the first half of the twentieth century for journals including The Journal of Urban History and The Journal of American Studies. Dr Ayers co-leads the multiyear digital history project, Mapping Black London, alongside Professor Nicole Aljoe in CSSH. The project has focused on the Second World War as well as the life and times of Ignatius Sancho, one of the eighteenth century’s most important Black Britons. Conducted in collaboration with Northeastern students in London, Boston and Oakland, the project recreates Sancho’s world and its connections to the transformative events shaping the life of the nation. In 2022, the Mapping Black London project team became the lead development partners on the London Metropolitan Archives’ Unforgotten Lives exhibition, which recreates the stories of Londoners of African, Caribbean, Asian and Indigenous (e.g. Aboriginal Australian) descent. These projects have been supported by a Learning and Research Development Initiative Grant, a $50,000 Tier-1 seed fund award, a CSSH Multigenerational Grant, a NULab Seedling Grant and an award from the NEH. Olly‘s forthcoming work includes a new co-edited edition of The Letters of Ignatius Sancho for Oxford University Press, a co-authored article looking at networks of slave-ownership among the founders of the St Katharine Docks company and a digital book recovering the long-term Black presence in London before 1950.