Skip to main content
Guardsman marching
What do migrants think of the British Monarchy?

The often-unheard views of migrants in the UK and British citizens living abroad on the Coronation of King Charles III, Eurovision and much more are revealed in the new season of the popular podcast Who do we think we are?

The first episode of Season 3 of the podcast which, so far, has attracted thousands of listeners goes live on Friday 5th May. Follow the podcast on all major podcasting platforms or through our RSS Feed.

Co-hosted by researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Lancaster, the series takes Brexit as a pivotal moment in telling Britain’s migration story focussed on the making of ‘Global Britain’.

What does it mean to be British today? Who is allowed to be part of Britain in the post-Brexit era? Who is excluded? We will explore these questions with people who are more ordinarily absent in these conversations.”

Nando Sigona, professor of International Migration and Forced Displacement, University of Birmingham

Professor Michaela Benson, from Lancaster University, and Professor Nando Sigona, from the University of Birmingham, consider what the UK’s exit from the European Union has meant for mobile citizens, migrants, migration flows and governance.

The experts reveal an ongoing process of redrawing the boundaries of the imagined community and the role of the migration-citizenship regime within this. They also look beyond the borders to consider how immigration controls, policies and legislation reflect the UK’s struggle for legitimacy and leadership on the world stage after Brexit.

Nando Sigona, professor of International Migration and Forced Displacement, explains the main focus of the season: “What does it mean to be British today? Who is allowed to be part of Britain in the post-Brexit era? Who is excluded? We will explore these questions with people who are more ordinarily absent in these conversations.”

Drawing on the contributions of those taking part in the ESRC-funded ‘Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit’ research, in the first episode of Season 3 researchers examine how British citizens living in Europe and EU citizens and other migrants in the UK experience major public events such as the coronation, Commonwealth Games, the Festival of Brexit and even Eurovision.

Michaela Benson, professor of Public Sociology, explains: “We explore what the views of these communities about the monarchy, commonwealth and Eurovision makes visible about the symbolic boundaries and borders of the imagined community emerging in the wake of Brexit.”

In the episode a UK-based Finnish woman explains how her attitudes to public celebrations has changed since Brexit: “If the festivities had taken place before Brexit, I may have felt more of a connection to the Jubilee but Brexit has created a rift between me and Britain that didn't exist before and has highlighted the perception of me as 'other' by those in power and many of those living in Britain.”