Ghosts app explores the legacies of Glasgow's slavery past


The National Theatre of Scotland, inspired by College of Arts research, is bringing the story of Glasgow's slavery past to life. 

Ghosts tells the story of a young man in 18th Century Glasgow and 500 years of resistance through the streets of Merchant City to the River Clyde. 

Audiences are invited to download a bespoke app, to plug in their headphones, and immerse themselves in this poetic storytelling experience, exploring the myth of Scotland’s collective amnesia of slavery and racialised wealth, of empire and identity.

Lead artist Adura Onashile has worked with researcher Adebusola Ramsay, composer Niroshini Thambar, UofG historian Dr Peggy Brunache and developers at immersive design outfit Bright Side Studios to explore the legacies of Glasgow’s past through augmented reality to tell an urgent and essential story about the city.

The project is based on research at the School of Humanities | Sgoil nan Daonnachdan to uncover the plight of runaway slaves in Britain. The story at the heart of Ghosts was inspired by adverts placed in newspapers for the capture of escaped enslaved people in Glasgow and the rest of Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries.

These adverts have been collated in the Runaway Slaves in Britain project, which has seen the creation of a searchable archive of hundreds of real newspaper advertisements that were published by the city’s slave-owners seeking, and often rewarding, the capture and return of the enslaved people who had escaped their service.

Glasgow has begun to acknowledge its former ties to the slave trade. In 2018, with the publication of Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgowthe university began its ground-breaking work to redress its historical links to slavery through a significant programme of reparative justice.

In 2019 as part of this reparative justice work, the University of Glasgow and the University of the West Indies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to forge a positive academic partnership between the two institutions which includes the establishment of the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.

As part of this partnership, UofG has committed to raising and spending £20m as part of its programme of reparative justice. 

How to Access Ghosts

Dates: 26 April to 09 May Ghosts can be downloaded from either the App Store for Apple or Google Play for Android devices.

Price: £4.99

Minimum mobile specs: iPhone 6S and above and Android 8 and above. Fully charged battery required.

Running Time: approx one hour

More Info and how to access the App:




First published: 29 April 2021

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