Race Act 40 is a Northamptonshire REC oral history project, based in Wellingborough. This 2-year research project was mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The end of project exhibitions and publications were funded by a grant from Northamptonshire Community Foundation.

Our Researchers have been recording the stories of local people including their experience’s of racism and their efforts to promote racial equality. This is important because…..”When we suffer in silence, we think we are alone, different, separate. When we share our stories…… we find that we are the same.” Vironika Tugaleva (Award-Winning Author)

This project was created to mark 40 years of The Race Relations Act 1976. The Race Relations Act 1976 was introduced with the aim of protecting people from racial discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnicity or national origin. It covered employment, education, housing, advertising and the provision of goods and services.

Our research is unique to other studies exploring racism and racial inequality as it has recorded the stories of ordinary people and enabled them to share their experiences while capturing individual human experiences. Many participants in other projects recording incidents of racism can unintentionally become a statistic on a piece of paper, which dehumanises their experiences and can unintentionally reduce the impact of the research.

While there may be similarity’s and common patterns across our research, every participant has had a different story to share. They have all been affected differently by different incidents, depending on their vulnerability, the way the incident was dealt with (or ignored), the support available (or lack of support), and their knowledge of their rights and reporting mechanisms. By recording their experiences through oral history recordings we have been able to preserve depth, individuality and human emotion that is uniquely captured in tones,  emotions, colloquialisms and silent pauses during the recorded interviews.

Each interview has been captured on an audio recorder. The interviews were then transcribed and the person sharing their story was offered a copy of their audio recording and the transcription of their recording to keep. Participants had the opportunity to remove minor details from both the recording and transcript before the research is officially released and archived at the end of the project, around June 2018.

Stories will be preserved for generations in The University of Northampton Archive, which has a large Searchlight collection. Our research will then be accessible to both the public and academics. We are also working on resources that you can easily access within the comfort of your home.

Norma Watson Volunteer

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with the progress of the project.