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Living Multiculture

The new geographies of ethnicity and the changing formations of multiculture in England

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Spring updates

A quick update on the various activities on the Living Multiculture project: we are deep in the data ‘cleaning’ and coding process still. This whole stage of the research does take time – not only because we have collected such an extensive qualitative data set with the individual and group interviews and the field notes – approximately 100+ interviews and 400-500 hours of participant observation - but also because cleaning and coding is a painstaking business and can’t be rushed. But this labour and attentiveness is important – and rewarding. Even the partial N-Vivo reports that we have been able to run are incredibly rich and fascinating.

We are increasingly going public on the project and presenting material from the data through a range of Living Multiculture dissemination activities. For example, I was an invited participant in Gemma Catney’s end of project workshop at Liverpool University in January. Funded by The Leverhulme Trust Gemma has spent the last two years analyzing ethnicity, residential geographies and the 2011 Census data. Making the connections between the macro patterns in Gemma’s work and the micro focus of the Living Multiculture project was a really great opportunity to consider the ways in which the work we’re doing is part of the same (albeit wider) shifts and changes that Gemma and others are mapping and analysing.

The event at Liverpool reflects the way in which this seems to be a particularly buoyant and thriving period of work in race and ethnicity studies. This was emphasized when reading Robert Moore’s think piece in Discover Society (March 2014) in which he reminds us that we are now nearly fifty years since the Rex and Moore (1967) study in Sparkbrook  but suggests that although there are different debates and approaches in the field today the focus on rapid place change and the related social relationships of difference remains a core focus of current work and research.

I was also struck by this thee of continuities and change when I presented a paper as part of the seminar series organized by Katie Tonkiss and Nando Sigona for the Institute of Research into Super-Diversity at the University of Birmingham at the end of February. In this presentation I was drawing on Living Multiculture data to try and think though the relationship between the concept of race and more recent debates and concepts. The afternoon at IRiS was really productive for the project in terms of having to do some thinking about the nature of current thinking around multiculture and race but analyzed through the lens of the Living Multiculture data. Details of this and of the other papers in the seminar series can be found on the blog on the IRiS website.

Our busy start to 2014 is set to continue. We will be at the British Sociological Association Conference in April as well as the Royal Geographic Society Conference in August. We are also presenting papers at the Future of Social Relations conference in Sheffield in May and the at IRiS Super-Diversity conference in Birmingham in June (we have listed the details of these below).

However, our dissemination work is multi-stranded. As well as the engagements discussed above we are also doing interactive workshop events in the 6th Form and FE colleges we have been working with in March and April. We will be looking to not only present our findings but to listen to students’ responses and feedback and build these responses in to our thinking and the research process. This emphasis on an iterative dissemination process is also reflected in the policy and practitioner interviews that we are currently conducting. We have now talked to a range of local figures in very different positions – local government, education, community and Third Sector - within each of our case study places. We describe these policy encounters as ‘dissemination-interviews’ because they very deliberately attempt to blend the distinctions and work across the two. For each of the interviews we provide a summary of locally specific findings and use these, and our broader findings, to generate interview conversations about policy possibilities and interventions in the particular geographies we have been researching. We aim to have this final interviewing stage completed in April. These interviews will then become part of our coding process!

The final update is to note that the project has a no-cost extension and will now finish on 31st October 2014. We will be arranging our end of project event in London in the autumn and look forward to proving all the details of that in the next blog update as well as perhaps seeing some of you at the various conferences and seminars in the coming months.

Sarah Neal

Papers presented:

Working on the micro: researching everyday social life to understand the changing geographies of ethnicity, Department of Geography, University of Liverpool, January 2014.

Spatialities of Multiculture in Schools and Further Education Colleges, CoDE, University of Manchester 28th January 2014.

Conviviality, encounter, diversity, migration: but where did race go? Thinking about multiculture by bringing sociologies of race and super-diversity together, IRiS, University of Birmingham, February 2014.

'Living Multiculture' at workshop on Diverse Alternatives: living, working and playing differently in the capitalist mainstream, University of Leicester, March 2014.

Confirmed forthcoming presentations:

Community versus conviviality: rethinking key concepts for understanding the social relations of contemporary multiculture, British Sociological Association Annual Conference, April 2014.

Spatialities of Multiculture in Schools and Further Education Colleges, British Sociological Association Annual conference, April 2014.

Comforting urban spaces and super-diverse communities: exploring multiculture and belonging in shared public and semi-public spaces, The Future of Social Relations: Rethinking Prejudice and Togetherness in Times of Crisis Conference, Sheffield, May 2014.

Rethinking public policy for a diverse society, “Super-diversity: Theory, Method and Practice Conference, IRiS, June 2014.

Listening, Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, August 2014.

Too much research, too many researchers? Over-researched communities, places and localities, Panel session (organised with Hannah Jones, University of Warwick), Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, August 2014.

A quick update on the various activities on the Living Multiculture project: we are deep in the data ‘cleaning’ and coding process still.

Latest Blog entries

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  • A quick update on the various activities on the Living Multiculture project: we are deep in the data ‘cleaning’ and coding process still.

Contact us

For further information about the project, questions, queries and media enquiries, please contact Prof Allan Cochrane or a member of the project team.