TRACTION project wins Oxford VC’s Innovation & Engagement Award

traction project logo

We’re delighted to announce that the TRACTION (Teaching Race, Belonging, Empire and Migration) project, led by Professor Nandini Das, has been awarded an Oxford Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation & Engagement Award. Professor Das said, "The TRACTION team is delighted to have received this recognition for not just our work, but also for the immense contribution made by our expert advisors, contributors, academic and non-academic partners".

TRACTION is a pioneering online platform which equips teachers to engage with issues of race, belonging, empire, and migration in the classroom. Developed by an interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities team, it is a unique new resource for secondary educators and education across the UK and beyond.

What does it mean to belong? Who belongs, and who doesn’t? From matters of race to immigration, to our historical understanding of empire, these issues have been a global topic of discussion in recent years. Difficult and challenging, they have put our collective understanding of history and culture under pressure. This, however, is nothing new: the Macpherson report (1997), published after the inquiry into the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence, noted that the place to challenge racism and build belonging was the national curriculum. Yet even in 2021, the ‘Lit in Colour’ report (Elliott et al.) found that only 12% of secondary and 13% of primary teachers in England had received training on talking about such topics in the classroom.

The TRACTION team’s response to this challenge draws on their years of experience in this area. TRACTION is the first online platform to provide teachers with the support and training they need to negotiate that difficult terrain, equipping them with cutting-edge research that they can use to enrich and extend their current teaching.

Focussed in the first instance on self-directed professional development for English and History teachers, the TRACTION Teaching Toolkit is a modular, out-of-the-box solution. Its three interdisciplinary modules, created by researchers and education experts at the University of Oxford, take teachers through research across the historical timeline from the 16th century up to the present day, while an additional module supports that specialist knowledge with practical, solidly embedded educational theory and pedagogy.

In addition, the Toolkit is supplemented by community-building facilities that allow teachers not only to connect with specialist researchers, but also to model best practices and share resources directly with each other, wherever they are in their journey.

Find out more about the Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation & Engagement Awards on the Oxford University website.

For more information about TRACTION, contact