Britishness, identity and belonging in post referendum Britain

  • Lander, Vini (PI)
  • Farrell, Francis (PI)

Project Details


This project aims to explore how young people aged 14-19 from ethnic majority and ethnic minority groups in schools, youth and community groups perceive their identities as Britons; how they reflect on their positioning post the EU Referendum and make sense of its consequences for their identities (and that of others) as British citizens.

This innovative research seeks to investigate young peoples’ sense of identity within multicultural Britain following the vote to leave the European Union (EU). There are 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).

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 will privilege the voices and perspectives of young people by utilizing participatory research in the form of peer-research and interviews to gather empirical evidence on their views about what it means to be British.

Young people in four schools and three community/voluntary settings will be invited to engage in the research and co-create knowledge about British identity. Findings will be shared with professionals, academics and other interest groups through Twitter, roundtable discussion with community groups and academic journal articles.

Key findings

On Going
Effective start/end date1/09/1730/04/19