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Keywords:

  • Place attachment;
  • migration;
  • ethnicity;
  • landscape;
  • United Kingdom;
  • audio narratives

ABSTRACT

The Walking Voices research project investigates the experience and perception of local places of first generation migrants. Two key themes are addressed: the scope of the outdoor environment to support a sense of belonging to new places, and how choices and values enacted in the public realm might reflect changing transnational identities. The fieldwork focused on one neighbourhood in Sheffield, UK, and engaged participants from five different countries of origin in self-recorded audio techniques. Analysis of narratives revealed a process of engagement with the strange and familiar in everyday places, and that emotional qualities of place attachment can be strengthened by the recognition of transnational links. The visibility of activities and interactions in outdoor places was useful both for the learning of everyday skills, and for modelling diverse cultures within the neighbourhood. We suggest that the representational qualities of place both reflect and shape transnational identities, and perceptions of these inform choices of engagement or disassociation.