Historical Research Program

The Department of Culture is committed to uncovering previously unexplored, or in some cases under-explored, aspects of our history and culture. In keeping with this pledge, the Department regularly sponsors research projects intended to deepen our knowledge and appreciation of Bermuda and Bermudians. For more information, please contact the Director, Dr. Kim Dismont Robinson, on kdrobinson@gov.bm.

Healthcare Heroines: Black Bermudian Nurses and the Struggle for Equality (2021-2022)

Principle Investigator: Meredith Ebbin
Secondary Investigators: J. Randolf Williams and Dr. Maryann Farkas
Filmmaker: Burnt House Productions

Research shared on emancipationbermuda.com and as a documentary here; public screening followed by Q&A in July 2022; public exhibition entitled “Pioneers Who Persevered: Black Nurses in a Segregated Bermuda” at the Bermuda Society of Arts July 22 – August 12, 2022.
This project examines the challenges faced by black Bermudian nurses and their contributions during the first half of the 20th Century, as well as the key role of Cottage Hospital Nursing Home.

Broadcasting Black (2020)

Principle Investigator and Filmmaker: Dr. Dana Selassie
(Documentary available here)

This project explores the role of black journalists and broadcasters in the shaping of identity in 1950s Bermuda

Prudent Rebels: Bermudians and the First Age of Revolution (2019)

Principle Investigator: Dr. Clarence V.H. Maxwell
Secondary Investigators: Dr. Theodore Francis II, Alexandra Mairs-Kessler
(Research published as a book in collaboration with the National Museum of Bermuda)

The purpose of this research is to examine the social, economic and political character of Bermudian activity in the Atlantic World during the Age of Revolution, 1774-1804.

The Legacy of Rafael Louis “Kid” Corbin (2019)

Principle Investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Sammons
Assisting: The Hon. Kim Swan JP, MP
(Research shared as public lecture in October 2019, documentary available here)

The purpose of this research is to examine the legacy of Bermudian Rafael “Kid” Corbin, a charismatic and colourful professional athlete who helped to break the colour line in golf both in the United States as well as Canada.

FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda (2019)

Principle Investigator and Filmmaker: Milton Raposo
(Research shared as a documentary film in November 2019, available here)

Since 1849, the Portuguese have been migrating to Bermuda, bringing their vibrant customs, traditions, language and their own personal histories. They have woven themselves into Bermudian society and this is their story.

Mary Prince Research Project (2019)

Principle Investigators: Dr. Clarence V.H. Maxwell and Dr. Margot Maddison-MacFadyen
Secondary Investigators: Karla Ingemann and Keishunda Curtis
(Research findings provided to the Department; public lecture forthcoming)

It is the purpose of this project to research the life of Mary Prince and the world of Atlantic Humanitarianism and Abolitionism toward writing a narrative history that is both biography and political and social history. It will not just result in a personal history of Mary Prince, but a discussion of the role of this Bermudian National Hero in the Abolition Movement and the larger Humanitarian Revolution.

The Latter Years of Bermuda’s National Hero Mary Prince (2018)

Principle Investigator: Dr. Margot Maddison-MacFadyen
(Research findings provided to the Department; series of school lectures in February 2019 and public lecture in July 2019)

This research, by taking a historical-geographical approach, explores the story of Mary Prince’s latter days in Antigua through an investigation of the Moravian Archives located in Bethlehem, PA and the Antigua Archives.

Of Fishpots, Bonnets and Wine: The Cultural History of the Bermuda Palmetto (2017)

Principle Investigator: Anna Saskia Wolsak
(Research shared as a Masters thesis in 2017 and as a public lecture in April 2017)

This research explores the ethnobotany of the Bermuda palmetto. The palmetto was an invaluable source of food, wine, and household goods to 17th century settlers; its leaves were central to the 18th century plaiting and hat-making industry.

Bermudian English (2017)

Principle Investigators: Britanni Cann-Fubler and Dr. Rosemary Hall
(Research shared as two public lectures in April 2016 and March 2017)

This research explores the dialect of English spoken in Bermuda by way of collaborative projects, publications and cultural initiatives with the intention of putting Bermudian English ‘on the map’ in the academic community by way of numerous research papers. This research is intended to help Bermudians celebrate their unique dialect, with the aim of initiating, inspiring and transforming conversations about Bermudian English among Bermudians.

Learning A Trade – Narratives of Apprenticeship (2009)

Principle Investigator: Dr. Janet Ferguson
(Transcripts of Interviews available as part of the Department of Culture Archive)

The purpose of the project, Learning a Trade – Narratives of Apprenticeship is to celebrate, record and document the oral accounts of apprenticeship, apprenticeship learning and the post-apprenticeship achievements of the ex-apprentices of HM Dockyard, Bermuda.