Making ethnic minority women's history and contributions more visible

We are making ethnic minority women's history and contributions more visible

We are making ethnic minority women's history and contributions more visible

The Challenge

Historically, the contribution of women, particularly ethnic minority women, has been overlooked or lost. Through her critical and creative research Professor Jasmine Donahaye has sought to recover suppressed communal and family narratives and life-stories, and bring to attention the neglected experience of women and ethnic minorities in Wales, particularly that of the Welsh Jewish community.

In her current research Professor Donahaye is focusing on the exclusion from the natural world experienced by women and people of colour, and the marginalisation of women in nature writing. 

The method

Professor Donahaye investigated both published and unpublished literature, recovered hidden documentary evidence, and collected oral history and family narratives in Wales, England and Israel, combining traditional academic and archival research with creative non-fiction and other forms of creative writing.

The impact

Professor Donahaye recovered lost Welsh-Jewish women’s history and literature which changed community perceptions and deepened public awareness of the multi-cultural history of Wales and exposed the invisibility of Welsh women in public commemoration, particularly women from ethnic minorities.  
 
Her published work has included a ground-breaking biography of Welsh Jewish writer Lily Tobias, The Greatest Need, and an award-winning memoir, Losing Israel, which won Non-Fiction Wales Book of the Year, and was included in the Telegraph’s list of best travel books for 2015.

The questions Professor Donahaye raised on social media and in the print and broadsheet press about the invisibility of women, the absence of women statues, and the neglect of Welsh minority experience, contributed to the commission of the first statue of a historical woman in Wales, while her involvement in Welsh Jewish studies led to the establishment of the Jewish Studies Association.  
 
A collection of interlinked essays exploring the constraints and boundaries placed upon women’s experience of the natural world won the 2021 Rheidol Prize for Writing with a Welsh Theme or Setting, and will be published in 2023. 

A television documentary based on Professor Donahaye's Lily Tobias biography was broadcast by S4C in 2017 and her documentary Statue No. 1 on invisible women and the first statue of a historical woman in Wales was commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2019. 

Text reads Swansea University Research Themes