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Post-War Immigration to Britain – Tasks

Explore Film and Literature

  1. Work in groups and find out in which way the following novels/films depict immigrant experiences in Britain. Make a table with three columns: 1) The characters' cultural origin, 2) Why they (or their family) chose to emigrate, 3) Their immigrant experience
    Focus on the following titles:
    • Sumitra's Story (novel)
    • Brick Lane (novel and film)
    • Bend It Like Beckham (film)
    • White Teeth (novel and TV series)
    • Small Island (novel and TV series)
    • The Other Hand or Little Bee (novel)
    • Brixton Beach (novel)
    • The Buddha of Suburbia (novel)
    • Londonstani (novel)
    • East is East (film)
    • Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (film)
    • 1964 (short story)
  2. According to the English curriculum you are supposed to: "Interpret at least one major work of fiction, one film and a selection from other English language literature from the 1900s up to the present". The texts and films suggested above would be good choices as they will also provide you with useful information about multicultural Britain. Are there any novels/films that you'd like to study in further detail?

Make a Presentation

  1. Work in groups and make a brief multimedia presentation (audio clips, images etc.). Find out how immigrants in Britain (starting with the first Irish immigrants and up to recent groups) have influenced: music, festivals, food traditions, fashion, film, literature, business.
  2. Choose an area that is renowned for its multiculturality and make a multimedia presentation (with audio, video clips, illustrations and so forth) where you present examples of challenges, incidents and the impact the multicultural population have represented over the last three decades. Choose from: In London: Brick Lane, Brixton, Harrow, Camden, Hackney. Outside London: Bradford, Birmingham.

Write an Essay or a Lecture

  1. Write an essay where you discuss push-pull factors that led to people immigrating to Britain after World War II.
  2. Look more closely into the British Nationality Acts from 1948 and 1981 and explore the political effects of the Acts. What did they mean to British Society? Write a lecture.

Past Exam Question Related to This Topic

Like most other European nations Britain has a population of mixed ethnic and national origin. Some of the largest ethnic minority groups come from countries very far away from Britain. Write an essay in which you use British history – in particular the history of the British Empire and the history of British immigration – as a basis for explaining the present ethnic makeup of Britain’s population.

What ethnic and cultural changes do you think may be expected in Britain over the next 50 years?

Exam Spring 2009


UK History

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