Here to Stay? Identity, belonging and citizenship among Eastern European settled migrant children in the UK (a decade after EU Enlargement)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Social Policy

Abstract

Focus of the project

Eastern Europeans who have arrived in the UK in the last decade are the fastest growing ethnic groups in the UK. This study will be the first to focus specifically on Eastern European migrant children who have lived in the UK for at least three years, and to compare their everyday lives and sense of cultural and national identity and belonging in Scotland and England. The primary aim of the research is to inform public debate, policy makers and service providers on the issue of children of Eastern European migrants settled in Britain. The study will promote social inclusion, by exploring the experiences of settled migrant children in relation to the distinct discourses around migration, identity and citizenship in the UK and by ensuring that voices of children from the 'new' minority groups are taken into account in current debates on national identity. Settled migrant children's perspectives help us understand whether or not they are being socialised into their local communities' culture and can highlight the spatial and temporal dimensions of their social lives and opportunities for future. Concepts of ethnic and diasporic identity, belonging, transnationalism, culture and nation are taking new meanings across Europe and need reassessment and questioning when discussing national identity and social inclusion.

Evidence to be produced

By bringing together discourses on migration and integration of migrant groups with knowledge on how children experience these discourses in their everyday interactions, the study will generate new knowledge on the UK's new ethnic minority children and their long-term experiences of integration. Focussing on children aged 12-18 of Eastern European migrants living in the UK for 3+ years, the study will provide a unique understanding on migrant children's long term experiences of settlement, exploring family, peer and community social networks. Another key area of investigation will be children's expressed needs in terms of the array of services they use, issues in access and the extent to which services are meeting their needs. Third, we will explore the factors that enable children of Eastern European migrants to adapt to the new social, economic and political context of the regions in which they live, as they negotiate national, social, cultural and political identities in the context of a changing Europe. Data will be generated through a review of existing evidence, a survey of between 500-600 children across six urban, semi-urban/rural areas in the UK and focus groups with between 70-100 children. In depth case studies 16-20 families will also be conducted. A young people's advisory group will have a central role in the project development and dissemination.

Originality, contribution to knowledge and anticipated impact

The originality of the project stems from the consideration given to the ways in which Eastern European children living in diverse geographical spaces are engaged in on-going, dynamic processes of making sense of the world, and their place within it, at local, national and global levels. The study will fill a gap in information on newly settled migrant communities, with a view of informing policy and practice. Information on settled migrant children's social practices, educational achievement and aspirations, sense of cultural and national identity and belonging will provide insights into the extent of European migrant communities' integration in the UK, in the context of various representations of 'nation' that circulate in policy, political and public discourses. The study will address the relative absence of migrant children's voices in public debates and provide policy makers and the public with an improved understanding of the lives of children who were originally migrants, but have settled long-term in the UK. This information will be disseminated widely, to benefit children, service providers, policy makers and the general public.

Planned Impact

The plans to ensure impact and how we will capture this are detailed in the 'Pathways to Impact' document in the attachment. In summary, through the proposed activities, a range of audiences will benefit from participation in events and opportunities to share good practice in supporting migrant groups and developing service delivery and policy targeted at inclusion of migrants, including:

1. Practitioners in Scotland and England working with children and families

The project will facilitate increased understanding of the complex issues of identity, belonging and access to opportunities for settled Eastern European migrants and draw key implications for improved service delivery. In order to facilitate these processes, student teachers/social workers in both host organisations and practitioners from services such as education, social work, health, leisure from public, private and third sector organisations will have the opportunity to take part in practice-oriented workshops, which will combine delivery of research-informed findings with opportunities for sharing good practice.

2. Policy makers and service managers

As the project has significant potential to inform policy in areas of social inclusion, education policy, service access etc., policy makers and service managers will be invited to contribute and attend the programme workshops and become familiar with the project findings, identifying opportunities to implement findings from the research into policy and practice; the planned events will provide further opportunities for cross-sharing of ideas between services and policy-making organisations at local and national level. Providing knowledge and insights from Eastern European children's perspective will enhance professionals' and policy makers' understanding of the particular difficulties children encounter in relation to access to opportunities, issues of identity and belonging. We will work closely with our existing contacts in Scotland and England to reach policy makers and service managers from a range of local authorities, government bodies and services.

3. Migrant children and young people

Eastern European migrants, currently the fastest growing minority group in the UK, will benefit from the project through participation in a mobile arts exhibition and the distribution of a child-friendly booklet entitled 'The lives of Eastern European children in Britain', representing stories of integration emerging from the research and accounts of children's experiences; this booklet will be freely available through the project website. They will also benefit from being represented in the research findings disseminated, giving them a voice in current debates and through improved practice and services.

4. Non-migrant children and families (general public)

The general public will benefit from a better understanding of Eastern European migrant children's lives. Knowledge and insights from the research will engage the general public in more informed debates on issues of diversity and equality in a democratic society. Currently, debates on the value of migration and issues of community engagement and social cohesion are mainly driven by sensationalist media and less informed by research. We will aim to engage the general public through community events organised in the six areas identified for the fieldwork and through regular contributions through press releases and public lectures of the research team. The mobile arts exhibition will give a vivid representation of children's experiences of views of aspects such as multiculturalism, intergenerational and community engagement, racism and experiences of ethnicity and will engage the general public through displays such as photos, videos, objects, collages etc. Our previous experience suggests that public perceptions can be challenged through art and children's voices and we will aim to make the travelling exhibition accessible to wide audiences.
 
Description Our research findings on the experiences of EU-born young people living in the UK have been used in several documents produced by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Young Academy of Scotland of the RSE to document the impact of Brexit. In particular, the Advice paper 'Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities- Migration, diversity, rights and social protection' produced by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (July 2017) (https://www.rse.org.uk/advice-papers/brexit-challenges-opportunities-migration-diversity/) and which draws on our research, as well as others, has been used in the Scottish Affairs Committee 'Immigration in Scotland' Enquiry (https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/scottish-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/immigration-scotland-17-19/) In addition, we have contributed to 'Brexit: The impact on Scotland' publication (Sept 2017) produced by the RSE-Young Academy of Scotland with a section on 'Children and immigration'. This document has been used by the Scottish Government in current planning in relation to the Brexit transition. In March 2017, Dr Sime (PI) has given evidence to the All Parties Parliamentary Committee on Young People and Brexit and the evidence and additional reports will be used to inform activity in the committee. We have also produced two research and policy briefings, which are available to download from the project website www.migrantyouth.org and these have been used by policy and service managers to inform their work in relation to supporting Eastern European families. They have attracted particular interest from teachers across the UK, including EAL teachers working with migrant groups, and have been used to inform their ongoing practice.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Contributed evidence to Royal Society of Edinburgh Advice paper 'Brexit Challenges and Opportunities- Migration & Diversity'
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Evidence used by Scottish Government in designing policy in relation to the Brexit transition, with benefits for the security of EU nationals in Scotland
URL https://www.rse.org.uk/advice-papers/brexit-challenges-opportunities-migration-diversity/
 
Description Contributed written piece on Young Academy of Scotland's policy paper on 'Brexit: The impact for Scotland'
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Evidence on the impact of Brexit vote on young people born in Central and Eastern European countries- and some policy advisory measures- likely to influence ongoing debate on Brexit solutions and policy measures
URL https://www.youngacademyofscotland.org.uk/publications/policy-advice.html
 
Description Evidence to All Parties Parliamentary Group on a 'Better Brexit for Young People'
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact Commitment from committee members to address the rights of EU-born nationals in the UK as a matter of urgency and raise the matter in Parliament at earliest opportunity to tackle insecurity of EU nationals and their children
URL http://www.migrantyouth.org
 
Description Research mentioned in Scottish Affairs Committee enquiry
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/scottish-affairs-committ...
 
Description Supporting young people during Brexit
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Over 100 teachers, social workers, police, health workers have taken part in our events in Scotland and England in Nov 2017, receiving training on the barriers faced by young people born in Central and Eastern Europe and living in the UK in the transition to UK's exit from the European Union
 
Description Citizenship, identity and belonging among Eastern European young people in Brexit Britain 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invitation to the Population and Health Research Group (PHRG) at St Andrews
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ESRC's Festival of Social Sciences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We organised two events as part of ESRC's festival of Social Sciences (at Strathclyde and Plymouth) entitled 'Supporting Eastern European young people in Brexit Britain'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Event for EAL Teachers in Edinburgh (March 2018): Eastern European young people in Brexit Britain: Racism, anxiety and a precarious future 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two workshops for EAL teachers in Scotland at the EAL conference (March 2018) - focus on practical applications of research findings to their work, in terms of supporting young people during the Brexit transition
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Here to Stay? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Contribution to Children in Scotland magazine for practitioners in Scotland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Here to Stay? Outline Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presenting Here to Stay? project to EAL teachers and support staff in Renfrewshire
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Here to Stay? Outline of project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on the Here to Stay? project at the meeting of EAL directors from local authorities in Scotland
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description How does poverty impact on family learning? Implications for effective partnerships with EAL/bilingual families 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference of Scottish Teachers of English as an Additional Language (SATEAL)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Participation in Explorathon Scotland as part of European Researchers' Night- involving the general public with social sciences 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An event taking place in museums across Scotland- we participated in two events- Kelvingrove Museum (29th Sept) and Transport Museum (30th Sept)- to engage the general public with social sciences. Members of the public learnt about the findings of our research with EU migrant young people. Over 1200 members of the public reached.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.explorathon.co.uk/