Beyond the Spectacle

Native North American Presence in Britain

Since the early sixteenth century, Indigenous people from North America have been travelling to Britain. They came as captives and critics, poets and performers, athletes and diplomats, and these journeys have continued into the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, few UK residents have heard of this long history.

‘Beyond the Spectacle’ is an Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project that brings together an international team of researchers and Native North American people to amplify the stories of Indigenous travellers in the historical record and in the current moment. Some of this work is based on deep archival research in places such as the British Library, while other aspects of the project focus on working with present-day Native American visitors to and residents of Britain to share the experience of being Indigenous in the UK.

Beyond our research agenda, ‘Beyond the Spectacle’ funds residencies for Indigenous artists from North America to create new works while in the UK, organises public symposia, and supports the process of connecting Indigenous communities with archival material and cultural belongings held in institutions such as the National Archives and the British Museum.

We invite you to explore our website, where you will find a wide range of information about ‘Beyond the Spectacle’s research agenda and public programs. Most importantly, though, you will find maps, images, and stories about the uninterrupted history of Native North American travel to Britain.


If you’d like to know more, watch the video below to hear our Principal Investigator, Professor David Stirrup, talk about the project:

Keep up to date with Beyond the Spectacle by checking our Events page, following us on Twitter and Facebook, and by visiting our blog.

Please direct any queries to our general email address –


(Our banner image is ‘View of the River Thames, London, England with Clyde the Big Red Indian’ by Native artist Bobby C. Martin – for more, see Bobby’s project blog-post, here)