Latin London: The Latin American Community in London
I have been working with the Latin American community in London since 2004, first with the Colombian population and then with other nationalities. While my early work focused on the nature of livelihood options among Latin Americans in the city, subsequent work focused on attempts to provide the first ever estimates of the size of the Latin American population in London (and the UK more widely) and a profile of their main socio-economic characteristics.
This research has raised the profile of Latin Americans in London and placed the community more centrally in public debates and policy frameworks. The work was the first to provide the first official estimate of the size of the Latin American population in London in 2011, and this led Southwark local authority to formally recognise Latin / South Americans as a distinct group in their ethnic monitoring, in order to improve their access to health and welfare services. The work has informed the work of charities, NGOs and lobbyists, leading to the creation of the Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK and the expansion of services at the Latin American Women’s Rights Service. It has also been used by Latin American consulates to provide evidence about their communities in London, and has improved public awareness of the Latin American community in the capital.
This research, again funded by the Trust for London and carried out in partnership with the Latin American Women’s Rights Service, was the first comprehensive analysis of the Latin American Community based on the 2011 census in London and the UK. It also entailed a survey with 400 Latin Americans who had migrated to the UK via other European countries, together with qualitative interviews with 28 onward migrants and 4 representatives from organisations serving this population.
Reports from this project
Video from the project
Towards Visibility https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw46pn1SzZw
No Longer Invisible (2011)
This research was funded by the Trust for London and carried out in partnership with the Latin American Women’s Rights Service. It provided a comprehensive overview of the characteristics of the Latin American population living and working in London. It responded to the lack of existing information on this community (although there is some research on the community, it is still limited). The project is based is the first compilation of official statistical data sources on Latin Americans in London in order to provide an estimate of the size of the population. The project is also the first large-scale quantitative survey of the Latin American community in the city across a wide range of nationalities and socio-economic groups.
The project entailed a survey with over 1000 Latin Americans (including 52 second generation), in-depth interviews with 50 people who had already been interviewed in the survey, and 4 focus groups organised with a total of an additional 20 people. Representatives from a range of different organisations working with Latin Americans were also interviewed (15).
Reports from this project
Cultural consumption and the performing arts with CASA Latin American Theatre Festival (2016)
This research analysed the nature of cultural consumption and the performing arts among Latin Americans in London. It was based upon collaborative research undertaken by the School of Geography and Centre for the Study of Migration at Queen Mary University of London and CASA Latin American Theatre Festival (CASA). The study investigated (i) the nature, patterns and factors shaping cultural consumption among Latin Americans in London; (ii) the barriers they encountered as consumers and producers of the performing arts and (iii) the role of the performing arts and cultural consumption more generally in identity formation and integration processes. The research comprised 474 questionnaires, 14 in-depth interviews and 1 focus group discussion. It also refers to three audience surveys undertaken by CASA between 2013 and 2015.
Report from the project
Video from the project
Towards Visibility in Newham: working with School 21 to promote citizenship awareness and ethnic recognition of Latin Americans through digital mapping
This project was a partnership with School 21 in Newham funded by Queen Mary University of London’s Strategic Impact Fund. It developed the following i) promoted citizenship awareness among young people in relation to the multicultural city; ii) developed a statistical profile of Latin Americans in Newham drawing on unpublished research on the 2011 census; iii) developed a participatory digital map of Newham that identifies Latin American presence where the data is gathered by the students.
Transnational voting practices among Colombian migrants: the Colombian 2010 Elections from the UK and Spain 2010–2011
This British Academy funded research examines the external voting patterns among Colombian migrants living in the UK (London) and Spain (Madrid) in relation to the Legislative and Presidential elections in 2010. This forms the European component of a larger comparative study with colleagues in the US, France and Colombia. The study involves conducting in-depth interviews and small-scale surveys in both countries before and during the Congressional and Presidential elections. The project aims to identify the motivations' behind migrant participation in home country elections, as well as the barriers to the exercise of the external vote.
Coping practices among Latin American migrants in London (2005-2010)
As part of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and building on previous research in Latin America and with Colombians in London (on a British Academy-funded project), this study explored how recent Latin American migrants, as a much neglected group, coped with living in London. Drawing on livelihoods conceptual frameworks, the research explored the nature of coping practices developed by migrants ranging from securing employment, learning the language to developing support networks. It also examined how these mechanisms are cross-cut by gender and legal status. Ultimately, the research considered whether migrants replaced one form of deprivation in their home countries for another in London, creating ‘new poverty’ in the Global North.
Other working papers on Latin Americans in London
Living in Latin London: How Latin American Migrants Survive in the City
Vivir... Sobrevivir...Latinoamercanos en Londres
The postcolonial practices of international migration: Latin American migration to London
Subversion or subjugation: transforming gender ideologies among Latin American migrants in London
Webs of (ir)regularity among Latin American migrants in London [PDF 279KB], Working Paper WP-09-0, ICMiC, School of Sociology & Social Policy: University of Nottingham.
Press coverage on Latin Americans in London linked with my research
∙ The Prisma (10/3/13) http://www.theprisma.co.uk/2013/03/10/cathy-mcilwaine-more-latin-americans-but-more-vulnerability/;
∙ HispanTV Broadcast Corporation. La Gran Historia - Trabajadores latinoamericanos en el Reino Unido - Parte 22 (July/12) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK6YDXR5G4o;
∙ The Guardian (22/6/12) http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/22/london-latin-americans;
BBC online (6/3/2011): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17272698
The Independent (19/5/2011): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/caramba-latin-america-takes-a-hold-on-london-2286152.html
BBC Mundo (19/5/2011): http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2011/05/110518_latinos_comunidad_londres_mr.shtml
BBC World (19/5/2011): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13445303
BBC London news (19/5/2011) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13452490
BBC Brazil (19/5/2011): http://www.bbc.co.uk/portuguese/noticias/2011/05/110519_latinos_londres_bg.shtml
Newspaper article Prisma (29/5/2011): http://www.theprisma.co.uk/2011/05/29/more-than-40-of-latin-americans-are-exploited-in-london/
Newspaper article Express News (24-30 May 2011): http://issuu.com/expressnews/docs/london_583_issuu
Newspaper article, Southwark News (16/6/20110): http://www.southwarknews.co.uk/00,news,23704,185,00.htm
BBC London Radio 94.9 – Breakfast Show http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00gndvz or http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gndvz 1:08:50 for Mubin Haq, Trust for London & 2:08:30 for Jose Luis’ interview