Friday, 23 February 2018

Race Act 40 - Sharing Stories of Racial Discrimination in Wellingborough

Race Act 40 is a Northamptonshire Rights & Equality Council (NREC) oral history project, based in Wellingborough. This two-year project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and was created to mark 40 years of the Race Relations Act 1976.

The project is conducting research to create a collection of stories using people's memories. Audio recorded as 'Oral History', individuals and communities in Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire are able to identify if and how the Race Relations Act has been of benefit. The aim is to gather information from people who have directly experienced racism, as well as, collating witness observations of racism.

The project also considers the role of local and national organisations which have been supportive, as well as appropriately highlighting any organisations that have been discriminatory in their practice.

What does the research involve?

The study involves taking part in a one-to-one interview with a trained interviewer who is sensitive to the subject matter. Lasting between 30 minutes to 1 hour, further appointments can be made to finish if needed. The interviews are recorded with audio equipment.

Interviews undertaken have reached over 40 and are typed up and stored as Oral History. The transcriptions reflect natural speech patterns, such as pauses for reflection and local dialect where possible. It is intended to be read with the recording.

Will other people know what I say in the interview?

The interview will contribute to the heritage of Wellingborough's whole community. Recordings and transcription material arising from this research will be publicly used in articles, reports, and campaigns for racial equality unless stated on the Consent Sheet that you would like to remain anonymous.

What will happen to this research?

You will receive your own copy of the unedited recording and agreed transcription. Public distribution of information will be copyright of NREC. At the end of the project (May 2018), agreed records or artifacts will be kept in the University of Northampton archive so that it is accessible in the future to local people, communities, and academics. Analysis of this research could lead to further projects that enhance the community.


The project has been supported by many individuals including myself. Dr Paul Jackson, Dr Caroline Nielsen and Daniel Jones from the University of Northampton have also supported the project over the past two years as critical friends, promoting volunteer opportunities to history students. The Law Department at the University of Northampton has also supported the project. A student intern was also funded for four weeks through the Santander SME Internship Programme.

Share Your Story

On 15th January 2018, I shared my story of racial discrimination with the project's researcher Jenny Labbon. My interview included incidents of direct racism at school in the 1960s and indirect racism in the workplace in 2003. It was an empowering experience to be interviewed as I had not spoken about these incidents for many years. I also felt a great sense of satisfaction to be participating in such a well-needed project right on my doorstep.

If you live in Wellingborough and have suffered racial discrimination or have witnessed or challenged it, and would like to participate in Race Act 40 by sharing your story, you can email:

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