IRR50: harnessing the spirit of transformation

IRR50: harnessing the spirit of transformation

Press Release

Written by: Institute of Race Relations


2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the radical transformation of the IRR. This year, we will be celebrating our history, past, present and future with a series of events, projects and activities as part of IRR50.

The Extraordinary General Meeting of staff and members on 18 April 1972 changed the direction and relevance of the IRR, from a policy-oriented, establishment, academic institution to an anti-racist ‘thinktank’ under the leadership of A. Sivanandan. This momentous change shifted the Institute’s focus, responding to the needs of Black people and all those affected by racism, and making direct analyses of institutionalised racism in Britain and the rest of Europe.

This year, we will be reflecting on the IRR’s legacy and how that ‘revolutionary act’ of April 1972 underpins the organisation’s identity and sets the coordinates for its work today and into the future.

As part of this special anniverary, we’re asking our regular readers, supporters and friends to sign up to a regular monthly donation. Help us continue to publish important research, maintain our archive and keep a record on racism and resistance by becoming a supporter today.


Here and Now: Rare BBC film on the IRR’s transformation from 1982

Produced by Pebble Mill studios, Paula Ahluwalia spoke to A. Sivanandan, Stuart Hall, Jenny Bourne, Hazel Waters, Cedric Robinson, Colin Prescod and Kenneth Leech about the unique history of the Institute of Race Relations and it’s radical transformation, precipitated by the Extraordinary General Meeting of 18 April 1972.

Race & Class special edition: IRR50 and the revolutionary act

Order our special issue of Race & Class, that includes an editorial by Race & Class Editor Jenny Bourne, recalling the circumstances that led to that Extraordinary General Meeting in April 1972.

The Anti-Racist Record: Launching the Register of Racism & Resistance

As part of IRR50, we will be launching a brand new resource, the Register of Racism and Resistance (RRR), a unique searchable database that documents key developments in racism and community action since 2014. We are holding an online participatory event on 31 March 2022, 6-7.30pm, open to all, to launch this important resource as well as provide a space to reflect on how keeping a record of racism forms a crucial part of anti-racist struggle.

The event will trace the IRR’s historical legacy of keeping a record of racism – from the anti-racist magazine CARF (Campaign against Racism and Fascism) published from 1991-2003, to the fortnightly publication of our calendar of racism and resistance on IRR News.


We have a number of other events and projects planned this year, including the launch of the A Sivanandan website, a special April edition of Race & Class and an IRR50 conference in the Autumn. To stay up to date with all IRR50 happenings, sign up to our newsletter today.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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