— part of the Researchers Shaping The Future Series —
It’s my great pleasure to introduce…
I am an Italian young woman, a PhD student at the University of Westminster, a socio-cultural linguist, a migrant in London, an aspiring lecturer.
Snapshot of Giulia’s Research
I study new Italian migrants’ performance of identities –yes, plural – in conversations.
Giulia on LinkedIn
Insights From Giulia
Elaine… When we were talking about your research at the Graduate School Annual Reception, it was apparent just how much it means to you. Please could you share why doing research in this area is important to you personally.
Giulia… My thesis is my story, it is the story of my friends. When I arrived in London, I started to note how English becomes important for Italians in London– and for me as one of them – to show the changes they went through after migrating. They (but I should say we) started to work after the migration, while in Italy finding a job was almost impossible.
We became adults, having to deal with everyday tasks and commitments our parents were managing in Italy. We had to learn to be new people, in a multicultural city that cannot accept the close mind-set praised by Italian society. Thus, my research is important because it shows how we cope with mutation and how we do it chatting over dinners, while cooking and eating London-Italian food.
Elaine… Moving from the personal to the bigger picture. What difference do you believe your research could make and to whom. In other words, why does your research matter?
Giulia… After the 2008 economic crisis, the Italian media proposed only one image of the new migration: the brain drain. Metaphorically describing graduates as brains, they denounced the flight of highly educated people.
The reality I found at my arrival in London was different. Many post-crisis migrants were similar to those post- Second World War migrants. They are dialectal speakers, lacking competence in English, and their level of education can be low.
My research suggests that statistics are not effective to study new migratory flows. Contemporary migrants live their migration at an individual level, not engaging with community practices and denying their belonging to their national community. Local institutions and Italian politicians seem to ignore the other face of Italian emigration. That is why my research matters, since I literally give voice to the real new Italian migrants, by studying their conversations and discussing their thoughts on their migratory experience.