The exhibition concentrates on the era from the UK EU membership referendum to the present day. Brexit has had a negative impact on EU migrants also living in Scotland. While the Scottish government has been supporting EU citizens in Scotland in various ways, young people of European origin have been growingly experiencing racist behaviours against them bullying across Scotland, according to a study of the University of Strathclyde. Moreover, the coronavirus-crisis may worsen ethnic inequalities in the UK, affecting people from South Asia and the Caribbean who live in the UK, as James Nazroo and Laia Becares aptly remark. It remains to be seen whether it will have an adverse impact on Southern Europeans, potentially also in Edinburgh. The photos of the exhibition show that incidents of racism should not be left to become the norm: Southern European migrants and non-foreign-born Scots can have deep ties with one another!

Obviously, Southern Europeans are not the only ones who may be affected by racism. The same applies to several other migrants from other regions, such as Central Europe, South Asia, Africa, Central and South America. The exhibition focuses on Southern Europeans, as it aims to establish links with some of their associations. Thus, to make our task feasible, we had to narrow down tis scope!

The exhibition builds on the historical research of Nikolaos Papadogiannis, Lecturer in Modern History at Bangor University. Papadogiannis has designed the concept for this exhibition and has helped put together its material. Papadogiannis’ work, published in leading international journals, such as Contemporary European History (2014), has extensively explored the contact between Greek migrants and the non-foreign-born population in West Germany. It has also appeared as a policy paper for History and Policy, which addresses publics beyond academia. It has shown mutually beneficial social interaction between migrants and non-foreign-born individuals. Thus, Papadogiannis’ research challenges the dominant perception of integration in Germany (but also the UK) as the adaptation of migrants to the norms of the host society. Papadogiannis’ intense interaction with Southern European migrants in Edinburgh, where Papadogiannis lives, shows that these migrants are contributing to a similar reciprocal exchange with the non-foreign-born Scots of Edinburgh.

You will not find on this website a comprehensive analysis of the social lives of the diverse Southern European migrants who live in Edinburgh. The exhibition includes some glimpses of what we believe that are productive examples in the co-existence of migrants from Southern Europe and non-foreign-born Scots living in Edinburgh. It is an invitation to reflect on those examples and help make such bonds stronger! Thus, please feel free to add your stories in the comments and send any relevant photos of yours, which we will be happy to consider uploading! We aim to expand this exhibition and add more glimpses, such as of the encounters of Southern Europeans and non-foreign-born Scots in Edinburgh at work.

The website comprises five brief photographic essays, all of which show how migrants interact with local people in Edinburgh in mutually beneficial ways. The first photographic essay shows friends, migrant and non-foreign-born, meeting in Edinburgh during their leisure time. It includes photos of Giannis Asmanis. The second photographic essay includes moments from activities run by charities in Edinburgh and involve both migrants and local people from Edinburgh. Giorgis Charalampidis has designed and delivered this essay. The third photographic essay contains glimpses into the activity of The Baharat Collective, a multi-national music band in Edinburgh which performs music from Southeastern Europe and the Middle East. It entails photos taken by Liam Baker, Tom Murtagh and the band itself. The fourth essay includes moments of collaboration between Southern European and local professionals at various wokplaces, such as a school and a coffee shop/restaurant. Relevant photos were taken by Giorgis Charalampidis. The fifth essay, which contains photos of Katerina Deligianni, shows the interaction between Southern European and non-foreign-born Scottish professionals at the Craigentinny rail depot. The initial exhibition, which formed part of the Being Human Festival 2020, included the first three essays. The fourth and fifth ones were added in July 2021.

The exhibition that this website is hosting is supported by the Hellenic Community of Edinburgh, Syn Festival Edinburgh and the Facebook community ‘Greeks living in Edinburgh, Scotland’. Moreover, the three first photographic essays were part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 12–22 November. The festival is led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. For further information please see beinghumanfestival.org. The construction of the page ‘Work’, containing the fourth and fifth photographic essays, has been funded by a Small KE and Impact Award from the University of St Andrews.

Get in Touch