Belonging after 'Brexit'? Exploring the effects of political uncertainty in the everyday lives of young Poles

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Geog, Politics and Sociology


This research proposes to explore the relationship between political uncertainty and belonging by
considering what it means to be a young Polish migrant in 'Brexit' Britain. It will address the impact of
'Brexit' and the accompanying anti-migrant narrative, exploring to what extent this creates a barrier to
belonging for young Poles. It will examine their everyday lives considering their location in
translocal/transnational networks and it will seek to understand what 'belonging' means for young
migrants. The research will focus on young Polish migrants aged 16-24 who came to the UK as children,
using narrative and semi-structured interviews, in conjunction with visual elicitation and participant
observation, to explore in-depth experiences of their migration journeys to date, as well as their current
lived realities. Participants will be initially recruited via the SMART (Supporting Migrants, Asylum
Seekers and Refugees Together) programme in Newcastle with snowball sampling being used to recruit
further respondents. The research will be conducted within the North East of England, a region which
overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU; only the city of Newcastle voted to remain. At 19,000, although
the overall number of Polish born residents is small (Hawkins and Moses, 2016), it is a region that
remains relatively ethnically homogenous with little overall experience of immigration. This study seeks
to build on previous research into the impact of 'Brexit' upon young migrants by examining how young
Poles experience the effects of political uncertainty in their everyday lives.


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