Centre for Race Education and Decolonisation
Britishness Identity and Belonging
This project is conducted in collaboration with colleagues at Edge Hill University, which explores how young people aged 14-19 from ethnic majority, and minority groups in schools, youth and community groups perceive their identities as Britons.
This project is conducted in collaboration with colleagues at Edge Hill University, which explores how young people aged 14-19 from ethnic majority, and minority groups in schools, youth and community groups perceive their identities as Britons. We are interested in how they reflect on their positioning post the EU Referendum 2016 and how they make sense of its consequences for their identities (and that of others) as British citizens.
This research investigates young peoples’ sense of identity within multicultural Britain following the vote to leave the European Union (EU). There were compelling reasons for undertaking this project: recent policy reports highlight Government and NGO concerns with social cohesion in British communities. These reports conclude there is an urgency for high quality research and resources to address these issues (British Youth Council, 2016; Burnett, 2016; Casey, 2016). In the period following the vote there was a rise in racist attacks, which served to undermine Black and minority ethnic citizens’ precarious sense of belonging. Before the vote to leave the EU this sense of belonging/not belonging had been exacerbated by the focus on British values by the UK government, the media and policy mandates in schools and colleges ‘to not undermine’ (DfE, 2013, 14) and ‘actively promote fundamental British values’ (DfE, 2014, 3).
Young people in four schools and two community/voluntary settings were invited to engage in the research and co-create knowledge about British identity.
There is little empirical evidence on how young people from all ethnic groups articulate their sense of British identity and belonging following these political and policy changes. This project privileges the voices and perspectives of young people by utilising participatory research and interviews to gather empirical evidence on their views about what it means to be British.
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