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The Swynnerton Plan, 2015-present


This project has included preliminary attempts at paintings based on redacted documents, growing tea and coffee plants from seeds and public distribution of printed information.


The Swynnerton Plan of 1954 refers to British colonial agricultural policy in Kenya implemented during the Mau Mau Uprising. The plan aimed to intensify agricultural production through cash crops such as tea and coffee; removing indigenous populations from ancestral lands, redistributing property and displacing hundreds of families. This period of colonialism includes some of the worst atrocities and human rights abuses committed by the British Empire and thousands of documents from this time have been destroyed, hidden or redacted so the truth of these actions (among many others) are still not widely known, acknowledged or included in education about British history.  Further links below:


Long Read


Plantation Struggles in Kenya: Trade Unionism on the Land 1947-63 (David Nicholas Hyde - doctoral thesis)

Peasant Response to Agricultural Innovations: Land Consolidation, Agrarian Diversification and Technical Change. The Case of Bungoma District in Western Kenya, 1954-1960. (UCLA International Studies)


Short Read

The Sywnnerton Plan (Wikipedia)

Mau Mau Uprising (Wikipedia)

Kenya Colony (Wikipedia)

East Africa Protectorate (Wikipedia)

Analysis of Western European colonialism and colonization (Wikipedia)

Mau Mau case: UK government accepts abuse took place (BBC)

Mau Mau case: UK government cannot be held liable (BBC)

British Mau Mau abuse papers revealed (BBC)

Kenyan Mau Mau uprising documents released (BBC)

Britain destroyed records of colonial crimes (Guardian)

Put our colonial history on the curriculum – then we’ll understand who we really are (Guardian)

Should the history of the British Empire be taught in schools? (BBC)

Ethics and empire: an open letter from Oxford scholars (The Conversation)

Why we’re fighting to get colonialism taught in British schools (Dazed)

Fill In The Blanks (Twitter)

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