Alexandra Ward


I completed my History undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds in 2018 and returned two years later to undertake an MA in Race and Resistance. My main focus throughout has been on researching the history of St Helena, a small Atlantic island with a pivotal and often overlooked role in Britain’s Slavery and Abolition past. During this time I also mentored final year undergraduate students on the completion of their dissertations, using my expertise in this field.

In between my academic experience, I have worked within the education sector in the UK and abroad. In October 2022, I returned to the University of Leeds to undertake a PhD on a part-time basis, which has been generously funded by the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH).

Twitter: @alexandraward_.


  • Beresford Prize, 2018 – Awarded for distinguished work in the field of social and economic history
  • Marion Sharples Prize, 2021 – Awarded for the best dissertation by a taught MA student

Research interests

My PhD research explores the horrifying and largely unknown human consequences of British Abolition through the lens of St Helena’s emigration scheme. This scheme functioned from 1840 until the mid-1860s, forcibly transporting thousands of Africans ‘liberated’ on the remote Atlantic island to the British West Indies. The conditions of these journeys will form the focal point of this project. I will contend that in the British government’s orchestration of St Helena’s emigration scheme, a ‘Second Middle Passage’ was created, the horrors of which were only paralleled by the Atlantic Slave Trade’s original ‘Middle Passage’. Crucially, this research counters the well-established notion of Britain’s Abolition ‘triumph’, often celebrated in public and political discourse and particularly visible since the ‘Bicentenary of the Aboltion of the Slave Trade’ in 2007.

This research sits within broader topics of interest, including (but not limited to) the following fields:

  • History of St Helena
  • Slavery and Forced Migrations
  • Resistance and Abolition
  • Atlantic History
  • Caribbean History
  • African Diaspora
  • Empire and Colonialism

I welcome correspondence and avenues for collaboration on any of these topics.

Other activities

I am a member of the following research groups and associations:

  • Friends of St Helena
  • Postcolonial Research Group
  • Royal Historical Society


  • BA (Hons) History, 1st
  • MA Race and Resistance, Distinction