Dr Lukasz Szulc’s work is dedicated to cultural and critical media studies which investigate the role of media in everyday life and the intersections of queer, national and transnational identities in the context of globalisation and digital media.
Facelook: Identity Management on Social Media by LGBTQ Migrants
Digital media create new opportunities and pose new challenges for the ways people think about themselves as well as manage the expressions of their identities. In this research project, I aim to enrich our knowledge about the transformations of identity in digital media landscape of the early XXI century by investigating those transformations from the perspective of migrant LGBTQs, that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. Focusing particularly on Polish post-accession migrants to the UK, I examine what LGBTQ migrants and their social media uses can teach us about the relationship between digital media and identity, as well as what opportunities and difficulties social media create to a group that faces different challenges of exclusion and discrimination.
This project asks the following questions:
- What role do social media play for LGBTQ migrants in experiencing, exploring and expressing identities?
- How do LGBTQ migrants manage their digital self-presentations for diverse national and transnational audiences on different social media platforms?
- What is the role of Brexit and personal migration stories in how LGBTQ migrants use social media to create a sense of belonging?
To answer those questions, I am working with a diverse group of Polish LGBTQs who moved to the UK after 2004, when Poland joined the European Union. This project combines quantitative and qualitative methods, including an online survey with 767 respondents and in-depth interviews with 30 participants of different gender and sexual identifications as well as of different age, class and place of residence. Part of the project is also to bring the voices of LGBTQ migrants to the public during such events as Polaktastic evenings of queer migrant performance art and the Body Control event at the Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield.