In January 2012, Race on the Agenda (ROTA) was awarded a grant by the
Heritage Lottery Fund to collect oral histories of Sri Lankan Tamils in London.

Working closely with the Tamil Community Centre in Hounslow, and a
large group of volunteers, the project’s primary objective has been to bring
recognition to the history and experiences held in the memories of Sri Lankan
Tamils living in London, primarily those living in or with links to the Hounslow
area and west London.

Despite the fact that in this short period of time the project team recorded
the life stories of more than 15 individuals – along with shorter interviews
with 30 more – in many ways, it is a project that is destined to be incomplete.
Much more time could be dedicated to the history and unique development
of community in nearby areas like Harrow, Ealing and Wembley, the many
different periods and circumstances of migration to London and further
intergenerational work between Tamils young and old.

It is our hope that this project goes some way in leaving the door ajar for
current and future generations to continue to preserve these personal and
collective stories, and to spread the word about Tamil heritage throughout
the country.

  • Conserve and communicate the stories, memories and
    reminiscences of different generations of Tamils in London
  • Encourage and facilitate an understanding of, and a
    participation in, the collection of heritage materials
    with fifteen community volunteers
  • Provide a space for different generations of Tamils to
    exchange their memories and experiences in
    intergenerational reminiscence sessions
  • Raise public awareness of the history of Tamil migration to,
    and life in, London from 1958 to 2009, and the interconnections
    between the UK and Sri Lanka during this time period
  • Explore the experience of community among
    Tamil-speaking people in London