Research Action Coalition for Race Equality

Bristol Race Equality Network (BREN) illustration
Image credit: Camille Aubry (

Collaboration between Black South West Network and the University of Bristol – centring principles of co-production

The Research Action Coalition for Race Equality (RACE) is a unique collaboration between the University of Bristol and Black South West Network working with key strategic partners including the Commission of Race Equality, Bristol City Council, third-sector Race Equality organisations and others committed to the elimination of race inequality in Bristol and the South West.

RACE aims to connect research and data to community-led approaches, in ways that recognise, value and respond to communities’ lived experiences and diverse forms of knowledge and expertise, through partnership, collaboration and co-production between academics, community groups and policy-makers.

The overarching aim of the network is to co-produce knowledge regarding the presence and drivers of race inequality in the region and to ensure effective policy responses to these: through engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders, including those from disadvantaged groups, third-sector organisations, policy-makers and business leaders as well as academics from across the University.

RACE is also informing the development of research approaches which are more inclusive and empowering for those from whom data are collected.

The Research

RACE aims to provide policy-makers and other stakeholders with the empirical evidence and other support required to develop policy and practice that can more effectively address race disparity in the region. Work undertaken through this collaboration includes:

Black South West Network

BSWN is a Black led infrastructure organisation, working for race equality across the South West. Our over-arching strategic intent is to build dynamic, independent, and strong Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, businesses and organisations that are empowered to flourish while challenging systemic barriers and forging a true path for themselves. We believe that only through this will we significantly address racial inequality. All our portfolio feeds into this aim. Over the years, BSWN has developed a strong reputation for evidence driven work based on our own robust and academically sound research. We have started to fill the significant gaps in knowledge that are created by the lack of focus on the specific understandings, experiences, needs, wants, feelings and aspirations of the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in Bristol and the South West region

The Bristol Model

The University's Professional Liaison Network launched its ‘Bristol Model’ in September 2020. The RACE project is one of several planned through the initiative. With ££436k of funding from the Office for Students and Research England, the 'Bristol Model' aims to bring students into the social science research process as Research Assistants on projects co-produced with organisations in the city region to address complex social and economic challenges.

Through the Bristol Model, nine students have worked as Research Assistants on the collaboration between the University of Bristol and Black South West Network, and two of these students have gone on to successfully secure employment with Black South West Network.

Contact the researchers

Professor Saffron Karlsen
Professor of Sociology
Angelique Retief
Associate Teacher
Research Action Coalition for Race Equality RACE logo
BSWN logo
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