School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Immigrant, homeland, diaspora

‘Immigrant’ is not a label people like or want, says Catriona Taylor, Leverhulme Artist in Residence, Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, after working with Swietlica, a Polish-Scottish organisation in Edinburgh.

How words like ‘immigrant’, ‘homeland’ and ‘diaspora’ were viewed by those who attended Art and Immigration workshops led by Catriona, is explored in a small but thought-provoking display, now open to students and staff.

The artwork, text and photographs, together with participants' collages about ‘home’, can be seen on Level 1, School of History, Classics and Archaeology (outside Room 1.29).

Sample quotes

“I was at a conference,” writes one participant, “and a speaker explained to the audience that Polish people came to Britain because we want to experience a culture of Barbie dolls and chat shows. We were really hurt”.

Another says, “I read a lot about those people who… left after Second World War and those who stood up against totalitarianism… for them there was no point of return”.

“You can’t lump all immigrants together,” points out a third. “…We were taken aback to see that we were grouped with people who were fleeing from places like Somalia in fear of their lives. We chose to come here”.

Are you an ‘immigrant’?

Do you have experience of what it’s like to be an immigrant in Scotland?

If you have moved here from overseas, and would like your country to be represented in Catriona’s major artwork - an ‘immigration quilt’, due to be exhibited at the National Museum of Scotland, July 2014 - please click on the link below.