William Wilberforce brought to life in 3D virtual reality

Slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce will feature in four virtual reality films to commemorate his life.

Wilberforce was born in Hull in 1759, and the films will be shown around the city as part of its year of culture.

The University of Hull and the Glasgow School of Art combined to produce a 3D representation of Wilberforce, voiced by Adan Osborne, a drama student at Hull.

Hard-fought success

John Oldfield, of the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute, said the project was about reaching a new audience with the abolitionist’s story.

He said: “There is a lot of interest around the issue of slavery, both historical and contemporary.

“His success was hard-fought. It is a fight that still goes on.”


After becoming an evangelical Christian in the 1780s, Wilberforce campaigned fiercely in Parliament against slavery.

It was his effort that led to the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, ending Britain’s involvement in the Transatlantic slave trade. Saturday marks the 210th year since the law was passed.

In July 1833 – just 3 days before Wilberforce’s death – the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, granting freedom to slaves in the British Empire.

Faith and action

The Christian Institute’s Director Colin Hart reflected on the huge impact William Wilberforce has had on society by pairing his Christian faith with his position in Parliament.

“In Wilberforce’s day, evangelicals felt that politics was no place for a Christian”, Mr Hart said.

“But Wilberforce decided to stay in politics for the good of the church, and for the good of the nation.

Enduring reforms

“He spent the remainder of his life seeking to transform society through distinctively Christian political involvement”.

Mr Hart added: “Wilberforce also brought about many other enduring reforms, and helped to shape our modern concept of social responsibility.

“His example shows us what Christians can achieve through political involvement, by influencing our society for good – being salt and light as Jesus commanded.”

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