Cultural institutions as scenes of Hungarian community life in Great Britain

In our research, we paid attention to compile data about the Hungarian community life in Great Britain. We were curious about how active the community life is and to how intense the networking is between Hungarians.

The conversations revealed that above all we must separate social life organized under the umbrella of official cultural institutions and the informal, bottom-up initiatives. In this post, we give a brief summary of the former one.

Official institutions

Hungarian official institutions are concentrated in London, where sizeable Hungarian community lives. In the other parts of Great Britain mostly informal institutions and organizations operate mainly on social media platforms.

One of these Hungarian institutions is the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London which organizes and supports a wide spectrum of programmes to promote Hungarian art and artists in the UK, and to disseminate Hungarian culture. Another important formal institution is the National Federation of Hungarians in England. It provides training in the Hungarian language and the history and geography of Hungary. It also offers courses in Hungarian art, culture and heritage of Hungary, and celebrates its traditions and customs.

Saint Stephan House in London, that hosts the Hungarian catholic community, also must be mentioned. Apart from that diverse cultural programs, traditional religious and national holidays are also organized here (Easter Ball, Harvest Festival, Christmas Fair, art exhibitions, historical commemorations, etc.). Besides Roman Catholic community the Calvinist Church is also active in London. Beyond the religious celebrations they organize different community programmes too.

From the point of view of the Hungarian community life we must mention the supplementary Hungarian schools as well, which we briefly introduced in our previous post. It is important because “during the lessons, parents are waiting in the corridors; they chat and get acquainted. However, these relationships break off beyond the walls of school.”

Unofficial initiatives

Out of these we can highlight the followings: Hungarians in England, Information page for Hungarians living in London or A helpful community of Hungarians. On these websites a plenty of useful information is collected regarding bureaucracy and administration, employment or education opportunities. In addition, Hungarian scouts and folk dance groups also exist. They are typical examples of bottom-up initiatives launched by active members of the community. According to our interviewees mainly these groups are more frequently visited by those Hungarians who have recently moved to England “and who haven’t integrated into the native society. They still insist on Hungarian culture and language.”

In addition to the above-mentioned informal initiatives, lots of facebook groups exist. Most of them are used for keeping everyday contact between the Hungarians living in different cities. In the next post, we will give a brief review of the latter one, focusing on the community cohesion of Hungarians living in England.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *