In-Between Spaces

Wednesday 10 March 2021 (17:30-19:30)

Inclusion and representation of Central and Eastern European art and artists in the UK’s creative economies

We invite you to join our dissemination webinar publicising the findings of an AHRC-funded study, carried out by the University of Birmingham and Centrala. The results of the report will be presented by Professor Sara Jones followed by discussion by a panel of experts from academia, politics and the creative economies

This event is open for everyone interested in discussing possible changes in diversity policies and the way they could be implemented.


Central and Eastern European (CEE) migrants make up approximately 3.7% of the Midlands’ population. They are, however, greatly underrepresented within the Midlands’ art galleries, spaces and festivals in comparison to artists born in Western Europe and North America. As predominantly white communities they are classified as “White Other” – a “tick box” they share with Western Europeans, North Americans, and Australians. They experience the privilege of “invisibility”; however, once identified as Central and Eastern European, they find themselves constructed as “not quite white” and are subject to xenoracism and discrimination. Their qualifications and experience are frequently undervalued and they do not share the same privileges and access to the same resources as their Western European counterparts. This is further highlighted by hostile environment policies and further changes in regulations brought on by Brexit. Currently, there does not seem to be an adequate measure for capturing the experiences and needs of CEE migrants. We would like to attract the attention of policy influencers, policy makers and policy implementers to the relative marginalisation of these communities. Our findings indicate that CEE artists do not enjoy equal access and representation in the cultural sector, and their interests, participation and career opportunities are not sufficiently protected by current equality regulations. As our research found, CEE migrants find themselves ‘inbetween spaces’ - in the grey zone between assumed sameness and the disadvantages of being foreign and different.

Confirmed panellists:


Professor Sara Jones

Sara Jones is Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Birmingham. She has published widely on state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and post-socialist memory cultures. She has collaborated with Centrala on multiple AHRC-funded projects exploring the representation of CEE history, culture and memory in the UK: the Midlands3Cities Creative Economies Engagement Fellowship In-Between Spaces; the impact and engagement project Testimony in Practice; and the just-started standard grant Post-Socialist Britain.

Professor Louise Ryan

Louise Ryan is a senior professor at London Metropolitan University and Director of the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre. She has been working on migration for almost two decades and has become a leading scholar in the field of migrant social networks. Her work is pioneering in the field of qualitative social network analysis and she has written many highly cited papers on that topic. She is currently co-editing two special issues (Global Networks and Social Networks), with colleagues, on specific dimensions on social network analysis. She is the co-editor of a forthcoming book for the IMISCOE book series and is writing a monograph on Migration and Social Networks.  In 2015 her contribution to migration research was awarded with a Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Alicja Kaczmarek

Alicja Kaczmarek is the Founder and Director of Centrala and the Polish Expats Association, a non-profit organisation supporting the integration of Central and Eastern European (CEE) migrant communities and promoting Central and Eastern European art and culture. Centrala is the only publicly-funded gallery of its kind in the UK, and one of the most visited in Birmingham. Alicja has a background in sociology from Mickiewicz University in Poznan, an MA in Social Policy from the University of Birmingham, and extensive experience in promoting equality and human rights.

Pauline de Souza

Pauline de Souza is Director of the Diversity Art Forum. She is involved with the Arts Council and Philanthropy Department engaging with the Beacon Collective, Black Art Funding and other philanthropists supporting the arts. She is senior Lecturer in the Visual Arts Department at the University of East London. She is Tate Liaison Representative for Tate British Art Network and sits on the Tate British Art Network Steering Group.

Dr Kinga Goodwin

Kinga has an MSc in cross-cultural psychology and a PhD in sociology and migration studies from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She has experience from working at UCL SSEES, Brunel University, University of Warwick and University of Stirling in research. At University of Birmingham, she acts as Policy Impact Postdoctoral Fellow, overlooking dissemination and media presence. She specialises in qualitative research and has fieldwork experience from the UK, New Zealand/Aotearoa and Japan.

Logos for AHRC and Centrala side by side on a white background