This paper presents the results of desk research on Poles in London and the United Kingdom, as well as a statistical portrait of Poles living in the London Borough of Lewisham. The data and literature review were part of the "Londoner Pole Citizen. National identity as a tool to stimulate civic participation of the Polish youth living abroad" action research project, carried out by the partnership led by the Centre of Migration Research Foundation, Poland, and including Centre for Community Engagement Research, Goldsmiths College, University of London (CCER); Lewisham Borough Council (Young Mayor Office); and Lewisham Polish Centre (LPC). The aim of the desk research behind this paper was to delineate a wider context in which the project was embedded which helped us to develop our research design, and also facilitated explanation with the aid of available analytical concepts. We included the state-of-the-art analysis on the topics such as migration, ethnicity, integration, diversity and civic participation in the UK. A special focus was on youth and the situation of young Poles in the borough. The idea was to depict the general trends and see the uniqueness of the studied locality against this background. First part of the paper presents general objectives of the project, then a general situation of Polish migrants in the UK and Lewisham is described. Following parts include analysis of statistical data on the Lewisham's population in regard to socio-economic factors, ethnic composition and school population, section on internal diversity of Poles as well as description of participatory practices in the Borough. In Lewisham, a very diverse and vibrant borough, we can directly observe local manifestations of all the issues important for Polish immigration as a whole: migrant place making, migrant institutions development, growing internal differentiation of the community, civic engagement and changing relations with other ethnic groups and mainstream society. We conclude with references to ways in which we applied the lessons learned from the state-of-the-art during our action research project.
Polish migrants London ethnic diversity civic engagement social integration class structure London Borough of Lewisham