Post-Socialist Britain?: Memory, Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK

About the Project

What happens to the connection between collective memory and political identity in the process of migration?

Post-Socialist Britain?: Memory Representation and Political Identity amongst German, Polish and Ukrainian Immigrants in the UK takes as its point of departure the growth in support for anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic parties across Europe. Our focus is on post-socialist countries – that is, those with experience of state socialist rule. The support for right-of-centre and xenophobic politics has frequently been explained in these contexts as being underpinned by collective memory of authoritarianism, and/or the ways in which these histories are used by those seeking support for ethnonationalist politics. Nonetheless, those who give such explanations usually assume that those remembering authoritarianism do so in their country of origin. Post-Socialist Britain? breaks out of this national mould to explore if and how memory is linked to political identity when the individual moves to a new national context.

The research findings of Post-Socialist Britain will lead to a better understanding of how immigrant groups negotiate different aspects of their identities and the factors that contribute to the development of political behaviour. The project will therefore also be of significance for multiple stakeholders who work towards promoting community cohesion and against xenophobia and extremism.

Research lead by Professor Sara Jones of the Department of Modern Languages, alongside Dr Charlotte Galpin of the Department of Political Science and International Studies and Dr Jenny Wüstenberg of Nottingham Trent University  Arts and Humanities Research Council

Project activities, outputs and outcomes

  • Research- 3 years ion research including four strands: Narratives, Networks, Media and Communities
  • Webinars, click here for details
  • Photography Club – run over 12 months community photography workshops in West Bromwich and Nottingham
  • Community engagement in West Bromwich and Nottingham
  • Educational resources including videos, materials for teachers of students aged 14+, click here
  • Artist residency and exhibition of Paulina Korobkiewicz, click here for more details
  • Cultural Celebrations
  • Community engagement workshops

Our role in the project

Centrala is a partner on this project delivering art and cultural strand and supporting research process. Our director Alicja Kaczmarek is part of the advisory group and mentored the community engagement worker.

Centrala commissioned 18 months long artists residency to deliver longitudinal work alongside research project and community engagement. We have commissioned photographer Paulina Korobkiewicz to engage with communities and to develop photography work which will be displayed during exhibitions in Centrala and in Nottingham (check our website for details)

In addition, we are producing series of audience engagement event to accompany project and exhibition including photo walks, workshops, seminars and cultural celebrations.

Delivered Events:

Upcoming events

  • Paulina Korobkiewicz exhibition opening at Centrala, 6/10/2023
  • Paulina Korobkiewicz exhibition opening at Side gallery Nottingham, December 2023
  • Eastern European identity in the UK? Does radicalisation matter? Seminar 18th November 2023


Exploring the Art of Zine Making with Jaskirt Dhaliwa-Boora and Paulina Korobkiewicz

On 25th October 6 – 8 pm and on 26th October 1 – 3 pm

This inspiring zine-making workshop is  open to all, serving as a platform for Ukrainian migrants to tell unique stories through the art of photography and zine making. The workshops are a safe space to share ideas and experience where we’ll explore the multifaceted concept of ‘home’—what it means to us and the possibilities it holds. read more

Sequencing and Storytelling for Local Artists with Paulina Korobkiewicz and James Cunliffe

This workshop is aimed at artists and professionals. Join us for a zine-making workshop tailored for artists seeking to transform their work into captivating zines. Explore themes of identity, collective memory, and creating a portrait of a place as we learn about sequencing and storytelling. Bring images that resonate with your heritage or your connection to a meaningful place, or anything else you would like to make a zine out of. Exchange ideas and inspirations with fellow creatives during our artist networking drinks in the final hour. read more