Start date:
October 2015
End date:
September 2017
Economic and Social Research Council


This project combined quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to examine the participation of European migrants from the A8 countries in local civil society. Fieldwork took place in three localities across Wales; one urban, one rural and one semi-rural. 

The project employed a mixed-methods approach. The research was conducted in two stages. The team will conduct 80 hour long interviews. This research focused on: Welshpool (semi-rural), Pwllheli (coastal), The Black Mountains – consisting of the wards of Bronllys, Bwlch, Crickhowell, Glasbury, Gwernyfed, Hay, Llangattock, Llangors, Llangynidr, and Talgarth in Powys – (rural), and Llanelli (urban).

The first stage was centred on statistical analysis of Census data, from 1951 onwards, which entails examining the evolving demographic profiles of the different areas following in-migration from other parts of the UK and more recently from outside the UK, especially from Central and Eastern Europe after EU enlargement in 2004.

The second aspect of the quantitative analysis entailed investigation of the Citizenship Survey. A particular focus in this aspect attempted to discern whether there is a difference in the propensity of A8 migrants, other migrant groups and UK born residents to get involved in activities within local communities. The second stage is focussed on qualitative data collection, drawing on semi-structured interviews with locally-based A8 migrants about their roles in civil society.

Research Questions

  • How are A8 migrants involved with civil society?
  • How do A8 migrants’ involvements relate to senses of belonging in particular localities?
  • How do A8 migrants’ involvements align with notions of ‘good relations’ of social cohesion?
  • How do A8 migrants experience belonging in Wales as a distinct part of the UK?


  • Two research articles were published in highly-respected journals based on this project
  • Four conference papers were also presented at: the WISERD conference, two national conferences, and an international conference during the duration of the project

Research team
Andrew Thompson
Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of South Wales
Taulant Guma
Post-doctoral Research Associate
University of Edinburgh

Journal Articles
“Where are we going to go now?” EU migrants' experiences of hostility, anxiety and (non-)belonging during Brexit’, Population, Space & Place 25 (1)
This paper examines the impact of the 2016 European Union (EU) referendum and its aftermath from the perspective of European migrants living in Wales. Drawing on interviews conducted with EU nationals in 2016 and 2017, the article highlights various examples of hostility and...
Workshop How has Welsh civil society responded to the 'refugee crisis'?
4th December 2018 |
This event will discuss the ways in which civil society has responded to refugees and asylum seekers in different parts of Wales in the wake of the recent ‘refugee crisis’. The event is aimed at policy makers and those who work in the third sector...

Themes: Civil Society