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Facing the Past

Who are they? 

The Facing the Past project team is made up of a collaboration between the University of Central Lancashire, The Lancaster Priory, Lancaster City Council, Smartify & several freelance artists, heritage professionals and educators.

This project was made possible by the Heritage Fund.

“The history of British involvement in the slave trade lies in many cities and towns across the UK but it largely lies hidden. It is time to support cities like Lancaster to bring that history to the surface.”
David Lammy MP Facing the Past patron & Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs

What was the challenge?

The project’s digital archive is the product of over three decades of interdisciplinary work, created and maintained by a variety of different stakeholders. The team needed an online platform that guaranteed longevity for the project, was accessible for learners and researchers of all ages, and emphasised the role of the city in the trade of human beings.

The platform needed to have a spatial element, as the team had already created walking tours and trails, and needed to be able to display a range of multimedia elements.

That’s where we come in…


“Facing the Past is a culturally significant project that will reflect on the role Lancaster played in the transatlantic slave trade and of the enslaved people who came to the city.”
Peter Buckley Lancashire's County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community and Cultural Services

What was the result?

The Facing the Past digital map archive launched in Spring 2023 to positive reviews, supporting the in-person exhibition and the community outreach program of the wider project.

The project is still very much ongoing, so watch this space and the official project website for more updates!

As of May 2023, the project has been covered in North West Bylines, the Lancashire Evening Post, the Lancashire Telegraph, the Lancaster Guardian and Beyond Radio.


Why Humap?

Our platform had everything the FTP team needed, ready to go at the click of a button. Trails? Check. Map? Check. Multimedia capabilities? Check. Suitable for all ages and with an easily customisable interface? Check!

The Humap team worked closely with the Facing the Past team over a period of several months to ensure that at launch, the platform would have everything they needed.

We’re honoured to be the platform of choice for such a necessary and important project, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the team will do next.

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