Samantha Carney – Everyday Multiculturalism and the experience of refugee settlement: A case study of Liverpool, UK

Samantha Carney is affiliated with the Department of Social Sciences. Her PhD has been funded by Edge Hill’s RITA GTA scheme (2017-2020); the scheme allows her the opportunity to undertake funded doctoral research whilst gaining experience with teaching within the University. She responded to a call on projects that explored the links between discourse, policy and practice in relation to the way that the UK responds to refugees. Having spent the previous year studying for a Master’s degree (Liverpool Hope University) that involved researching community faith-based initiatives supporting refugees in Liverpool, she was eager to continue to focus on both Liverpool and the community for her doctoral research.

Her PhD research explores experiences of, and reactions to, refugee settlement in Liverpool.  The research draws from the theoretical perspective of ‘Everyday Multiculturalism’ seeking to explore the extent to which, through the settlement of refugees, an urban ‘multiculture’ is emerging in the city. Everyday Multiculturalism is a useful framework for this study because it provides a way of understanding the lived experience of refugee settlement and how, through everyday practices, encounters and interactions at a local level, multiculturalism can potentially be built from the bottom-up.

When she decided to do a PhD Samantha was keen on research that would have an impact into local communities. Through this research she hopes to be able to engage with refugees, residents, community organisations, charities and local leaders allowing her to facilitate the sharing of knowledge across different groups whilst improving the capacity of refugees and residents to have a voice into local initiatives.

This research will make an important contribution to knowledge about the response to refugees in the UK, alongside an understanding of how the wider national and global context plays out in the day to day experiences of refugees and residents in 5 areas of Liverpool. Given the limited availability of data and the relative absence of Liverpool in the literature, it is hoped that this research can make an empirical contribution to the gaps in knowledge around the experience of refugee settlement in Liverpool. It also aims to make a theoretical contribution to our understanding of lived diversity through the application of ‘Everyday Multiculturalism’ in a city in the process of diversifying and opening up.