An innovative Inverness event that will focus on Polish communities in the north has been fully booked.
Academics from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) will host “Unheard Voices, Unseen Communities” next month to consider a raft of issues affecting Polish people living in the region.
Themes of integration, mental health and the implications of Britain’s exit from the European Union are expected to dominate.
The June 23 gathering is the first of its kind and unites academics, politicians, social workers and community activists.
It aims to explore the diversity of the Polish and “broader ethnic minority experience across Scotland” using Polishness as a case study to understand broader immigration issues.
Organiser David Worthington, head of the UHI’s Centre for History, hopes it will bring delicate issues into the open.
“Brexit is to the fore,” he said. “And I don’t mind taking on some of the thornier issues.
“I also want to put the UHI on the map here, because the events that have commemorated and celebrated Polish-Scottish connections have traditionally tended to be in the Lowlands and it’s about time we looked at that. I consider this a starting point.”
Zosia Wierzbowicz-Fraser, chairwoman of the Inverness Polish Association, welcomed the potential.
“It’s a brilliant idea, covering a lot of issues,” she said.
“There are a lot of issues that bother the Polish community, a lot of trauma and stress goes on with leaving your country behind you – and people are worried about Brexit. Some have begun returning to Poland because of it.”