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Social Frontiers and Community Life in Rotherham West. 'Life at the Frontier' Research Briefing 1

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posted on 2024-01-23, 14:05 authored by Aneta PiekutAneta Piekut, Henry StaplesHenry Staples, Gwilym PryceGwilym Pryce, Zanib Rasool

About the report

This is Research Briefing 1 produced in project ‘Life at the Frontier: Researching the Impact of Social Frontiers on the Social Mobility and Integration of Migrants’ (2020-2023; project no 95193).

Rotherham was selected as a qualitative case study where research was conducted by Dr Aneta Piekut (University of Sheffield), Dr Zanib Rasool (Rotherham United Community Trust), Dr Henry Staples (University of Sheffield), and prof. Gwilym Pryce (University of Sheffield). We conducted 34 individual in-depth interviews (23 residents and 11 experts) and 4 group interviews and feedback sessions. The aim of the research was to understand the role of so-called 'social frontiers' - when neighbouring communities are very different in terms of their cultural, ethnic and/or social make-up - for social mobility, community cohesion and residents lives.

Research Briefing 1 is a community-facing report and covers the headline findings on the impacts on social frontiers on community life in Rotherham West ward, specifically: how physical barriers are reinforcing social frontiers, scarcity of social and community infrastructure, inter-group tensions related to the scarcity of infrastructure, the importance and limits of community leaders and a vibrant and initiative-taking community. The briefing outlines a few recommendations for local stakeholders.

About the project

LATF project was funded by NordForsk and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), led by Prof. Gwilym Pryce. Research in Rotherham has also been supported by additional knowledge exchange and participatory research funding building on the LATF project: UKRI Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) funded ‘Blurring the edges: social frontiers as places of encounter' (2023, PI Piekut) and UKRI Research England funded 'Crossing the frontier: Exploring the potential of the Collective Mobile Method as a participatory research tool in Rotherham' (2024, PI Piekut).

Research in Rotherham received ethical approval from the University of Sheffield Ethics Committee (no 042378).

More information about the project is at the website:


Life at the Frontier: The Impact of Social Frontiers on the Social Mobility and Integration of Migrants


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