As the UK becomes more diverse, so issues of identity, integration and the ‘cohesiveness’ or otherwise of local communities have moved to the centre of public debate.
Research within the Centre is concerned with ensuring a better understanding of the experiences of refugees and migrants, the circumstances that have led to their decision to move and the factors that facilitate - or act as a barrier to - economic, social and political integration. We approach integration as a two-way process which places demands on both the receiving country and the migrant. For the migrant, it requires a willingness to adapt to the lifestyle of the host society without having to lose his or her own cultural identity. In return, the host society should be prepared to accept refugees and migrants as equals and work to ensure they have the same access to resources and decision-making processes as the national population. Research within the Centre explores the ability of migrants to access the resources and opportunities necessary for their integration and the factors that underpin attitudes towards, and understanding of, asylum and migration issues.
Our research and work with local communities also explores the increasingly recognised role that the arts and cultural expression can and do play in shaping shared identities and a common sense of belonging. Work by members of the Centre aims to enable arts and cultural expression by refugees and asylum seekers to flourish so that they are able to contribute to the artistic and cultural vibrancy of Wales and beyond.