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MME Research Report launched

27 May 2021

We are pleased to announce the publication of a report which maps research produced by Northern Ireland (NI) universities related to matters about migrant and ethnic minority (MME) peoples in Northern Ireland. It was intended to inform our discussion as a think tank; to increase public access to robust research; to encourage analysis of the evidence gaps; and recommendations for further research.

The report was informed by a systematic search process to identify, collate and ‘tag’ relevant research papers, dissertations and translation activities undertaken by scholars of Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. The project was undertaken by the MME Council led by our research coordinator Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi with the assistance of Amanda Lubit. The project was supported in part by Queen’s University Belfast through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

This project has allowed us to establish an online resource list of this research information on our website (see our ‘Research’ page at the tab above).

It is available for members of the public to access information, with tags added for the ease of searching categories and topics. We hope to continue to grow this library of resources, and that it will be utilized actively by those seeking evidence and academic knowledge; those informing changes to policy and practice.

Following on from the launch of this report, we will engage in a series of discussions with the researchers about such research, in addition to events with interested local communities and groups. Please subscribe to our website for follow on activities and to send in your questions or comments.

Reactions to the report

The report has been welcomed by the Universities and by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey.

Ulster University's Professor Liam Maguire, Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) for Research, said: "Ulster University is committed to creating an open research environment and to delivering impact beyond academia. The launch of the ‘Collation and Mapping of Research related to Migrant and Minority Ethnic Matters in Northern Ireland produced within Northern Ireland’s Universities’ report presents further opportunity to provide public access to our research in this area".

"Queen's University is delighted to have helped support this project" said Professor Emma Flynn, PVC for Research and Enterprise at the University. The project "does such important work in collating and highlighting our research about Northern Ireland and its migrant and minority ethnic communities. Bringing attention to research about our local context and communities is very much aligned with our commitment to shaping a better world outlined in our Social Charter".

Listen to Professor Flynn's message here:

Belfast's Lord Mayor, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, said: "This report is hugely significant, in that it maps out years of research produced by the Northern Ireland universities regarding matters relating to migrant and minority ethnic communities. Having this collection of research, easily accessible, and in one area, is an incredible resource for elected members, policymakers, academics, champions of equality, and the general public".

Listen to the Lord Mayor's message here:

And watch an overview and Roundtable discussion of the research project here:

More about the report

The report provides a ‘snapshot’ of the research that has been undertaken, and made publicly available, within two higher education institutions in NI. A number of visual representation of patterns in the research are provided to increase accessibility and impact. The process of source collection is outlined in the report transparently to the readers, with active hyperlinks to available information. Importantly, the limitations of the report are also made clear, in accordance with responsible reporting of research. For instance, we are clear that the search process was not exhaustive and that interpretation has been kept to a minimum.

Key highlights

There were a total of 176 sources recorded on the databases of the universities that related to MME matters. The earliest was published in 1990; the most recent in 2021. Of these, 72 were published in the past five years.

The categories with the largest amount of research activity across the years were Discrimination (82 items), Criminal Justice (39) and Education (38), while Environment (12) and Housing (18) are the least researched.

While important studies have been undertaken, finer analysis of the research undertaken in the last five years indicates that there is considerable need for more research. For instance, despite the commonly known housing problems for ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland, only 1 the 9 items related to 'housing' undertaken in the past 5 years, related to 'hate crime' or to 'Travellers'. Another example is that of the 17 studies relating to 'health' undertaken in the last 5 years, only 3 studies looked at ‘women’. Perhaps surprising in the Northern Ireland context is that religion was not a specific focus of any of the studies. Where it was referred to, was in the context of discrimination or hate crimes, where the most frequent mention of religion or religious affiliation was 'Muslim' (9).

Far more is detailed in the report, which you are encouraged to read for yourself.

MME Council

27 May 2021


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