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In 1844 the London Missionary Society (LMS) launched a ship bound for the Pacific: The first of seven, purchased and outfitted entirely with donations from children.
A key part of the LMS (1795-1967) operational strategy was to cultivate British children as donors/fundraisers and future missionaries. Through their Juvenile Magazine, books, games and other ephemera, the LMS used images, of the lands they operated in and the people they met there, to captivate the children at ‘home’. I have been researching this visual corpus using a combination of macro analysis – a database to survey the overarching trends and themes across time, and in-depth case studies one of which I will present in this talk. 

In the late 19th century, there emerged a new trope in the Society’s visual corpus. This innovation showed children, adorned in distinctive dress and possessing ‘typical’ racialized features, gathered as ‘friends’ in an imaginary space. In this talk I will explore the context of the emergence of this imagery and why the LMS adopted it as part of their visual rhetoric. 

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but booking is required.