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Living through the pandemic in post-Brexit Britain: emotional damage and forms of resilience among middle-aged European citizens. [Dataset]


Lucia Ruggerone
Data Collector

Charlie Hackett
Data Collector


This study ran between October 2021 and June 2022. Using a combination of participant-created artwork and semi-structured interviews, the project aimed to examine the effects of the Coronavirus epidemic and Brexit on the emotional wellbeing of middle-aged European citizens who have transnational caring responsibilities in the UK and in Europe. The qualitative research sought an in-depth understanding of the participants' emotional landscape and explored how their sense of belonging in the UK has been eroded by this combination of factors. The disconnect engendered by Brexit and the forced estrangement from family in Europe have prompted many EU nationals to return home, causing a loss of workforce for the UK economy at this crucial time of recovery. The project explored their experience with the objectives of identifying these individuals' needs and highlighting the resources they are using to adapt to the changes. The intention is for the results of the project to inform government at national and devolved levels, in support of a strategy to retain these individuals' contributions by rebuilding their sense of home in Britain. The research was funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme small research grant (SRG21\210667).


RUGGERONE, L. and HACKETT, C. 2023. Living through the pandemic in post-Brexit Britain: emotional damage and forms of resilience among middle-aged European citizens. [Dataset]. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from:

Deposit Date Feb 21, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 21, 2023
Keywords Emotional experience; Artistic expression of emotion and feeling; European citizens in the UK; Transnational carers; Immigration; Migration; COVID-19; Brexit
Public URL
Type of Data PDF and PNG files with supporting CSV files.
Collection Date Jan 20, 2023
Collection Method Over twenty participants contributed to the project, all 35-55 years old and European citizens born outside the UK but currently living here. The research was undertaken by first asking the participants to produce/present artwork representing the dominant mood they experienced during the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. Participants were allowed free choice of artistic form and medium, including self-produced material (collages, drawings, photographs, etc.) or art produced by others. Participants were supported with materials and given two weeks to produce the artwork. These works were then used as the basis for individual, semi-structured interviews. This gave the participants greater ownership of the discussions and enabled them to communicate emotional states or feelings that were otherwise not easily conveyed through conversation.