Journeys - Migration Stories shown in New Exhibition

Swansea University, working in partnership with the University of Glasgow, will be featuring migration stories in a new exhibition that opens in the Arbuthnot Museum Peterhead, on Saturday 15th October.

The exhibition looks at the responses from four crucial questions:

Why do people from other countries move to Scotland?

What would you say to welcome new people to Scotland?

What makes a place feel like home?

How can we make newcomers feel more at home in Scotland? 

The exhibition gives the migrant participants a voice, and an opportunity to tell us what is important to them. It contains portraits, maps, a film, and a special collection of ‘objects from home’ that have been lent to the museum by project participants. Most of the art work was produced in a community café ‘Make It Happen Peterhead’ during the summer, and this is complemented by artwork from the Aberdeenshire Museums collection.

Claire Needler, Research Assistant on the SSAMIS project at Swansea University said:

“ We have worked with people who are new to the area, as well as people who have lived here all their lives, exploring universal themes of everyday life, working to build a sense of community, and getting to know ourselves and our neighbours better. It has been great to work in partnership with local community organisations like Modo, as well as the Arbuthnot Museum to explore migration in the north east.”

The Project’s findings are already being used to provide user-facing solutions through public participation, including integration through language, community cohesion and development initiatives. The SSAMIS project produces collaborative research outputs including films, soundwalks, blogs, digital stories, community-led publications, events, school materials, reports and academic publications that give voice to migrants, highlight the issues that affect them and promote integration. It has started to affect policy making through the use of SSAMIS-piloted schemes as templates for public engagement. The Project’s results and development of migration toolkit will be discussed at the ESRC Festival of Social Science and policy shaping event on 9 November in Aberdeen.

Background on the SSAMIS project

The UK has seen new flows of migration coming from Central Eastern Europe and other parts of the former 'Soviet bloc', particularly since EU accession processes in 2004 and 2007.

Scotland, the focus for this research, presents a particularly interesting and distinctive case due to the specifics of its economic and demographic situation, the political discussion taking place of the need for migration, and the division of responsibilities between UK and Scottish parliaments and local authorities for migration.

Whilst both the Scottish Executive and many local authorities have expressed a wish to attract and retain migrant workers, challenges have also been highlighted in academic and policy oriented research relating to a demand for and adequacy of service provision. Meanwhile the experiences and perspectives of migrants themselves remain little understood.

The project prioritises this often hidden migrant voice in both its theoretical and empirical approach. It aims to study perspectives and experiences of 'social security' amongst migrants from Central Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in Scotland. In this project we use 'social security' in a holistic sense to mean the ways in which migrants are able to make themselves socially, economically, personally and culturally secure in a new environment and their strategies for dealing with every day risks.