Conversations at the Chapel – Professor Corinne Fowler

Upstairs at the Chapel

Thursday 27th June 2024, 7.30pm

In conversation with Alastair Laurence

Corinne Fowler is Professor of Colonialism and Heritage in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. Her latest book is Our Island Stories. Through ten walks, taken with varied companions throughout Britain, she connects the countryside with our colonial history. Linking the Cotswolds with Calcutta in India, Grasmere in the Lake District with Canton, China. And there is a Welsh ramble – The Wool Walk – which explains how the sheep trade of Dolgellau influenced the development of the colony of Virginia in the Americas.

Our Island Stories was inspired by a child led history and writing project she was involved with between 2018 and 2020. Called the Colonial Countryside Initiative, it took inner city children and their parents to National Trust properties. She says, “For me, there is nothing better than hearing a range of British kids talking about what history means to them.”

This in turn led to Professor Fowler being commissioned to do a full audit of National Trust houses, their Imperial past including the Slave Trade. When the co-authored report was published in 2020, she was personally vilified in the press and online as the very embodiment of the ‘Woke Professor’. She was now part of the Culture Wars raging over the meaning and importance of British history. And accused of being ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘at war with the past’.

In response to her critics, she argues that “knowledge is not something to be weaponised, but to be shared”.  And concludes that “dialogue and openness are always the best antidotes to culture war “.

So, who better to invite for a Conversation at  the Chapel.


Alastair Laurence, who is curating this series, is a freelance documentary film maker who lives near Abergavenny. In recent years Alastair has made films about The Battle of the Somme, a history of British Photography and the poets John Betjeman, Philip Larkin and TS Eliot.


Tickets £13 available at The Art Shop and at the Chapel. Booking Essential. Online booking fee £1