The primary objective of this project is to serve public interest by producing a series of analytically rigorous, peer-reviewed, digital humanities products that seek to contextualize some of the materials in the Lloyd’s Collections linked to slavery. We define collective social benefit as any work that ethically, and without causing harm educates the public, raises the tenor of social discourse and contributes to mutual understanding. This collaboration aims to work towards the collective benefit of both the public, contribute to civic life through the practice of historical inquiry and knowledge dissemination, and for the benefit of those historically harmed by the transatlantic slave trade. General benefits may include educational tools and platforms, virtual exhibits, lectures, and other forms of public engagement. This project recognizes that accounts of the transatlantic slave trade, slavery, forced labor, and violence will take an emotional toll on many of us. These are hard, difficult histories to learn about and learn from – especially for those whose ancestors were enslaved. It is also a painful history for those whose ancestors were involved in and benefitted from slavery. It is our ethical responsibility to minimize harm to those affected by these histories. Drawing on existing principles for responsible research in these fields1 we aim to minimize harm by seeking oversight from an Advisory Board who continue to assess our work and consider its potential harm as well as benefits. This will be discussed in greater detail in the following section.

In preparing to conduct this delicate and important work, the researchers involved in this process considered prior practices of confronting these issues in archival production and research.2 The proposed model here is informed by both the earlier referenced materials and upon the CARE principles for Indigenous Data Governance (CARE principles).3 The Care Principles for Indigenous Data Governance were developed out of the need to recognize the ways that data and digital historical materials, especially those relating to colonialism, historical violences and slavery can do violence to those communities who have been affected by these histories. This is especially the case when those communities are not included in data management access and dissemination. The CARE principles seek to shift Indigenous communities from outsiders in the data collection, archiving and disseminating process to “vibrant contributors to data policies, practices, ethics, and innovation”.4 The aim of the CARE principles is to “reposition Indigenous Peoples, nations, and communities from being subjects of data that perpetuate unequal power distributions to self-determining users of data for development and wellbeing.”5 These principles are already being employed by the Smithsonian Institution, The Research Data Alliance, and the Open Data Charter.6

While we did not intend to adopt all of the practices laid out in the CARE principles,7 we employ their principles of Minimizing Harm and conducting Digital Humanities Work for Collective Benefit. To aid in this work we included those affected by the legacies of slavery in decision-making processes through the formulation of an Advisory Board made up of representatives from Lloyd’s, the research community and community organizations. Though the management of data, either of certain populations or other sensitive personal material is not a stated element of this project, the inclusion of aspects of the CARE principles allows for collective benefit to be gained from this work and responsible methods to be practiced. Our ethical obligations are outlined below.

Minimizing Harm

The well-being, rights, and concerns of those affected by slavery must be a consistent consideration of this project.

Digital Humanities for Collective Benefit

This project has aimed to, as both an objective and in daily practice, facilitate collective benefit in any way it can for those who have been historically harmed by the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade. Further actions which can be taken could involve investing in digital capacity development, increasing community data capabilities, and translating the outcomes from this collaboration within the many languages and cultures of the African Diaspora as possible.8

Formulation of an Advisory Board

In order to facilitate our ethical obligations to providing collective benefit while minimizing harm we formulated an advisory board to oversee this research and collaboration is pursued in the most responsible manner. As such we invited an advisory board made up of representatives from Lloyd’s, Black British community organizations, historians, archivists, artists, and scholars who will assist, challenge, and aid the collaborative to uphold the principles.

To our knowledge, no other entity responding to past histories or relationships to slavery in the U.K. have engaged with public groups or community organizations in developing initiatives to respond to their historical role in slavery. We feel that this is an important opportunity and one that Black Beyond Data is happy to co-facilitate in partnership with Lloyd’s. In doing so, the goal is to also establish a sense of trust between Lloyd’s and the general public. Beyond ethical oversight, the advisory board will also lend credibility, visibility, and important new ideas and approaches to our project.

We would like to thank organizational representatives of the Black Cultural Archives, Black History Walks, Culture& and all of our advisory board members for their support and engagement with this project.

Peer Review of All Content Produced

In order to further offset risks of conflict, any final materials produced as part of this collaboration including this document has been reviewed by a separate committee of subject matter experts for historical accuracy and validity and any digital humanities platform will be assessed by the advisory board to assess harms, benefits as well as further uses.9 We thank the anonymous reviewers who provided their comments and necessary review of this work.

Read the full Ethics and Methods Memorandum

1 For a more complete accounting of these sources kindly see: Stephanie Russo Carroll et al., “The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance,” Data Science Journal 19 (November 4, 2020): 43,; Catherine Hall, “Doing Reparatory History: Bringing ‘Race’ and Slavery Home,” Race & Class 60, no. 1 (July 2018): 3–21,; Jessica Marie Johnson, “Markup Bodies,” Social Text 36, no. 4 (December 1, 2018): 57–79,

2 Daniela Agostinho, “Archival Encounters: Rethinking Access and Care in Digital Colonial Archives,” Archival Science 19, no. 2 (June 1, 2019): 141–65,; Ann Laura Stoler, “Archival Dis-Ease: Thinking through Colonial Ontologies,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 7, no. 2 (June 2010): 215–19,; Carroll et al., “The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance”; Johnson, “Markup Bodies”; Hall, “Doing Reparatory History”; Marisa Joanna Fuentes, Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive, 1st ed, Early American Studies (Philadelphia (Pa.): PENN University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).

3 Carroll et al., “The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance.”

4 Carroll et al., 2.

5 Carroll et al., 2.

6 Carroll et al., 6.

7 Elements of the CARE Principles pertaining to intellectual property rights and open access especially may or may not be employed by this collaboration. As the CARE principles pertain primarily to forms of demographic data, life histories and ethnographic materials, some elements of the CARE principles may not apply to this project.

8 Statement paraphrased and derived from Carroll et al., “The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance,” 6.

9 Carroll et al., 6.