Standup comedian and YouTuber, Bruce Fummey, will be appearing at the University of Aberdeen on 2 October. But this won't be one of Bruce's regular comedy nights - this time it's personal.
Well-known for routines with irreverent presentations of traditional Scottish history and culture, during the Covid lockdowns the comedian turned his attention to YouTube filmmaking.
His popular Scottish History Tours videos offer a unique take on the nation’s past from Tam O’Shanter, the Jacobites and Robert the Bruce to the independence debate and the best castles in Scotland.
With almost 200,000 subscribers the former school teacher, who gave up a career in finance to become an entertainer, covers Scottish history in an engaging and enjoyable manner.
Bruce was invited by the University’s Museums & Special Collections team to use his storytelling skills to highlight the links between the University and the north-east of Scotland and the slave trade. This is the subject of an exhibition running in the University’s Sir Duncan Rice Library until December.
He says his latest film, which he will showcase at a special event in Aberdeen on October 2, shows that these connections are ‘much messier than we often think’ – and sometimes personal.
Bruce introduces his sister Comfort, an associate member of staff at the University, and brother-in-law Ben to places they encounter in their day-to-day lives but had not previously considered as having connections to the slave trade. Showing them how much those living in Scotland today benefit from this legacy, and how the compensation paid to enslavers for the loss of the people they ‘owned’ following the abolition of slavery was spent, brings into focus how widely this history is still felt today.
Bruce said: “The revelations I gained from looking at Aberdeen University’s story opened my eyes to so many connections. The big question I want to address now is: What does it mean today? “
Neil Curtis, Head of Museums & Special Collections, who assisted Bruce with locations and items from the University’s collections for the film, said: “The story that Bruce tells in his video powerfully shows how entangled all our lives are in the legacies of transatlantic slavery.
“It was a great privilege to see behind the camera as his video was filmed, seeing how he brought together so many complex stories into a powerful argument.”
The result is Bruce’s longest film to date and he will share the story behind its creation with an audience at an event in the King’s Conference Centre at the University’s Old Aberdeen campus on Monday October 2 from 7-8.30pm.
Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance at https://www.abdn.ac.uk/events/19062/
The film will be shown in full at the event and can also be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7I-7xvT34E