Race Through The Generations

After the successful completion of our first HLF funded project “Back to the Future”, BSWN has been awarded another HLF grant to conduct a second project entitled “Race Through the Generations.”  This project takes us further into the discussion of what race means within Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities – groups that are defined both internally and externally by their racial and ethnic heritage.  Previously we used oral stories to express the place and impact BME organisations have had on the cultural landscape of the Southwest. In those discussions we found that many BME leaders spoke about race in great detail during their oral histories, touching on the ways in which the concept of race changed over time for them personally and the country as a whole, and how that influenced the direction of the BME organisations they were apart of.

“Race Through the Generations” seeks then to focus primarily on the inter-generational understandings of racial heritage within BME communities in Bristol and Gloucester.  We are interested to see if there are both generational and locality differences in the ways individuals from these communities understand and talk about their racial heritage. Through digital storytelling we want to capture how different generations of BME individuals define, understand, use/disuse, and express their racial heritage.

To accomplish this we will first train 6-8 BME young people in digital storytelling techniques.  Once training is complete each trainee will conduct 2-3 interviews, collecting both oral stories and material goods that they will use to construct individual digital stories on what racial heritage means within communities who are labelled by their race and/or ethnicity.  Once these stories are collected the young people will then be interviewed by BSWN staff to collect their digital stores on the same topic.  We intend to have between 24 and 30 individual digital stories that will then inform a larger 20-30 minute documentary.  This documentary will focus on the process of training the young people to conduct this project, all background research on the use and place of race in the UK post 1945, and our overall findings on inter-generational understandings of race within Bristol and Gloucester BME communities from the digital stories collected.

We at BSWN are both excited and hopefully for this project as it adds another piece to the long history and impact BME communities have had within the UK, and the place of race in the construction of this modern country.  This project will start with recruiting volunteers,  both young people who are interested in being trained to conduct our initial interviews and those in the community who wish to be interviewed.  Recruiting will start in September 2013 and we intend that this will be a 2 year project, ending in August of 2015 with 4 exhibitions, two in Bristol and two in Gloucester.  Please refer to the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the page if you are interested in working with us.


About Black Southwest Network (BSWN)

BSWN is a regional infrastructure organisation that supports BME and other marginal community organisations in the South West. Its vision and mission are to promote and advocate on behalf of the BME and other marginal Voluntary and Community Sector organisation (BVCS). To strengthen the BVCS in the region by increasing its influence in policy arenas, developing the capacity of the BVCS, providing support, and facilitating skills and knowledge sharing across the sector. The work we do involves a strategic action and delivery-based approach to overcoming discrimination, exclusion, and under representation among the BME, and other marginal communities, in the South West. Moreover, our approach also aims to empower these communities by tackling socio-economic deprivation by working in partnership with other agencies and organisations. As a whole, BSWN is a one-stop-shop for capacity building and community empowerment where with our members we work to create a better informed, skilled and represented third sector
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