Forty Voices Forty Years

Impact: Cultural impacts, Economic impacts, Public policy impacts, Social impacts

Description of impact

Violence Against Women (VAW) is a key policy concern for the Welsh Government. It causes immeasurable personal tragedy and costs the UK £66bn annually. Forty Voices Forty Years (40V40Y) is a ground breaking project led by Welsh Women’s Aid (WWA) in collaboration with USW that uses arts based research methods to collect, preserve and share the heritage of the movement to eliminate VAW in Wales. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hanfod Cymru and others. Welsh Government has stated that “listening to survivors is a crucial element of all that we do and their experiences must shape our policy and services”. 40V40Y has enabled women involved in the movement to end VAW in Wales to tell their own stories of survival and resistance in their own words. By collecting, preserving and profiling these stories we have centralised the voices of survivors and significantly impacted on policy and service provision for women, children and families in Wales who experience violence.

The heritage of women in Wales, the VAW movement, and WWA have been captured, preserved and disseminated.
40V40Y captured stories from 45 women associated with the 40 year movement to eliminate VAW in Wales. This newly captured heritage was shared in a touring exhibition that visited venues across Wales in 2018, culminating in a large scale month long exhibition at St Fagans. We were also invited by the Deputy Minister Jane Hutt AM, to exhibit at the National Assembly for Wales in the Senedd for the week of International Women’s Day, and to take over the galleries at the National Assembly for Wales’ Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay for one month. Stories have been archived with the National Library of Wales to ensure that this heritage is preserved in perpetuity.

People have changed their attitudes and/or behaviour
Stories have transformed understanding in training with police, local councils, Welsh Government, WWA’s 22 member organisations and other stakeholders. Evidence suggests engaging with the stories changes attitudes, and VAW policy and services are improved. Policy makers, service providers and the general public have told us that they gain understanding and significantly change their behaviour and attitudes as a result of listening to these stories.

People have gained skills
48 attenders, including many survivors, have received training in heritage collection and conservation, exhibition interpretation and invigilation. A team of people now exists who can continue to capture and preserve heritage in Wales.

The general public have learnt about heritage
Over 13,000 people have engaged with 40V40Y either at exhibition or through the online collection. Feedback from participants indicates that lives have been enriched and understanding about a heritage of women in Wales that had been marginalised, forgotten or hidden from view.

WWA have made the stories collected by the USW as part of 40V40Y a central aspect of their campaigning, influencing and education strategies ensuring significant impact on advancing understanding amongst stakeholders at all levels.

How did your research contribute?

I led the 40V40Y project on behalf of USW.

Who is affected?

During the period of the project the main stakeholders were Welsh Women’s Aid who were the partners on the project.Other stakeholders with whom we engaged were:•<60 survivors of violence•Exhibition venues including Cynon Valley Museum, Galeri Caernarfon, The Welfare Hall Ystradgynlais, Swansea Museum, St Fagan National Museum Wales, The Cardiff Story Museum, The Pierhead and Senedd galeries (National Assembly for Wales)•<3000 audience members at exhibition venues•<10,000 online audience members who have accessed the digitally archived stories•22 member organisations of Welsh Women’s Aid who have shared the stories in their own campaigning and education work•Funders including Heritage Lottery Fund, Awards for All and Hanford Cymru•Policy makers, in particular Jane Hutt AM, deputy minister and chief whip, who gave a story and championed the work in Welsh Government and beyond•Public services in Wales including police, social services and local government who used the stories as part of their training.•People’s Collection Wales who have digitally archived the stories.•National Library of Wales who have archived heritage objects collected. We anticipate that the impact will grow significantly as more people engage with the project through the archived material and as Welsh Women's Aid continue to use the project as a central aspect of their training and education.
Impact date1 Feb 201830 May 2019
Category of impactCultural impacts, Economic impacts, Public policy impacts, Social impacts
Impact levelIn progress