Photo of the exterior of Wilberforce House Museum

On the face of it, these were two worlds very much apart. But by the end of the night, their orbits had become curiously connected. At least for us at Born + Raised.

And just for once, it wasn’t the booze.

Spinning rapidly in from one side was the still forming new world of digital. Because last night we found ourselves attending the Digital Awards in Hull, surrounded by some 300 northern digerati. The brightest and best digital innovators from this year’s resurgent City of Culture.

Meanwhile, rotating slowly in from the dark, endless spaces of the past came the 18thcentury world of William Wilberforce and his 20 year long crusade to finally bring an end to slavery.

But slavery ended years ago, didn’t it?

What brought the two worlds together was the short movie about Modern Day Slavery we created for our Hull based clients, Arco, to highlight this important CSR issue in supply chain management. Our emotive, animated piece of social content had been shortlisted by the Digital Awards. And with the awards venue being a mere few hundred yards from the birthplace of famous anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce… well, it seemed like karma.

So we set off a little earlier to give us time to visit Wilberforce House and its museum displays about the famous abolitionist’s life and anti-slavery campaign. It may be just a mere stone’s throw from the thriving modern digital hub of C4Di, but even today you can still smell the salt tang of the iron grey sea and sense the hustle and bustle of what would have been the mercantile heart of the city in the mid 1800s.

Old sea dog. New tricks

That sense of the old and new faces of Hull being closer than you’d think was a notion picked up on by the evening’s host, Hull’s Digital Ambassador Dave Keel. Dave pointed out that the same area that was the old centre of Hull’s fishing and shipping industries is now the home to a thriving new digital industry. Even though we were gatecrashers from Sheffield, it was inspiring to see, feel and be among such a sense of pride, togetherness and positivity in the city. Huge congratulations to the worthy winners and hats off to KCOM and Hull Daily Mail and all the other sponsors for putting on such a great evening.

Wilberforce House itself is certainly worth a visit should you ever find yourself with an hour to spare and takes you through the inglorious history of slavery from its roots in ancient civilisation to the present day. And hence to the topic of our short film. It remains a sobering fact that more people live in conditions of slavery today than at any other time in history. Maybe these two worlds aren’t quite so far apart after all.

As we drove home later, I caught myself wondering what William Wilberforce would have done if he had had all the digital tools we possess. Made a video about modern day slavery perhaps?