Joanna Burch-Brown is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at University of Bristol. She writes on ethics of contested heritage, with a focus on Bristol and the history of transatlantic slavery. She has worked with institutional leaders locally, nationally and internationally to understand perspectives on all sides of contested heritage debates, clarify responsibilities to different communities, and find balanced ways to address difficult history and its contemporary legacies. She has a particular interest is in bridging between different viewpoints and promoting understanding of the positive intentions of people on all sides.
In June 2021, Joanna and colleagues are launching Bridging Histories, a free online learning project focused on bringing divided communities together. She is carrying out this work in her capacity as current co-chair of the Bristol History Commission - an initiative set up by the Bristol Mayor's office after the fall of Colston's statue, "to help us understand our past so we are better equipped to decide who we want to become." She is also part of a team who are writing guidelines for public bodies across the UK carrying out reviews of contested statues and street-names.