Lion and Club

Agents of Empire? Christianity, Commerce and Critical Thinking

In this session for Third Level students, we explore and discuss the role of missionaries and explorers in Western expansionism and the colonial project.

Beginning with a brief introduction to David Livingstone’s story, the session will then invite students to analyse his letters and journal entries, considering Livingstone’s motives and his impact on communities in Africa. The session then uses object handling as a springboard for discussions around Victorian preconceptions about African culture and how these ideas may affect our own contemporary outlook.

We end with a zine making workshop – encouraging students to creatively respond to what they’ve learnt throughout the session.

By the end of the session, you will: Understand better the motives and impact of people like David Livingstone (missionary and explorer) in the historical context of Western European expansionism and the contemporary context of Global Inequality.

Curriculum Link

We develop a sense of my heritage and identity as a British, European or global citizen and can present arguments about the importance of respecting the heritage and identity of others.

  • SOC 4-02a We investigate a meeting of cultures in the past and can analyse the impact on the societies involved.
  • SOC 4-05c We asses the impact for those involved in a specific instance of the expansion of power and influence in the past.
  • SOC 4-06d We continued to experiment with a range of media and technologies, handling them with control and assurance to create images and objects. I can apply my understanding of the properties of media and of techniques to specific tasks. EXA 4-02a.

Duration: 90 minutes.

Costs: £4 per pupil for South Lanarkshire Schools. £5 per pupil for all other schools.


These sessions can be adapted for different age groups to those listed and can also be delivered as virtual visits.

To book your workshop please complete our online Booking Request Form.

Booking Request Form

Any questions regarding this workshop please e-mail

Also see Workshops section for more information.

David Livingstone

We are very grateful to our key funders the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government for their support in helping us deliver the Birthplace Project.

National Lottery Heritage Fund
Scottish Government
Historic Environment Scotland
Note: Please note that David Livingstone Birthplace (and the David Livingstone Trust) is no longer part of National Trust Scotland (NTS). NTS members will therefore no longer receive discounted/free entry to the Birthplace Museum.

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