UPWEB: Understanding the Practice and Developing the Concept of Welfare Bricolage

This project examined the experiences of residents of superdiverse neighbourhoods in accessing services for their health concerns, including formal and informal sources of advice, treatment and support, investigated the influences on residents’ access to healthcare, looking locally, nationally and transnationally, explored how different service providers identify and meet the healthcare needs of neighbourhood residents, and drew on the qualitative and quantitative findings to describe new models of service provision suitable for diverse and mobile neighbourhoods. 


The main results include: 

  • Identification of a range of formal and informal sources of support and treatment and a bricolage typology whereby patterns of residents usage across public healthcare, private and alternative services are identifiable.
  • Identification of bricolage typology among service providers and differential levels of bricolage across the four countries.
  • Identification of common (and longstanding) lack of good quality healthcare interpretation, hindering access across all four countries.
  • Description of an enhanced model for superdiverse locality-based healthcare access
  • Exploration of constrained meanings of gratitude for services, expressed by vulnerable women of migrant background
  • Description of trans-global healthcare seeking patterns.

The findings have described the complexity of healthcare seeking in neighbourhoods characterised by migration-driven diversity. The project coincided with the ‘migration crisis’ of 2015-16 when around 163,000 refugees arrived in Sweden, with welfare and healthcare services stretched in meeting increased demands. The evidence from the project has been very timely in filling in the picture of the strategies and tactics adopted by neighbourhood populations made up of new arrivals, longer standing and resident populations and how these needs are met by providers. The findings have made visible unofficial work undertaken by patients and professionals that is not accounted for. This is important in understanding the particular demands and opportunities that diverse neighbourhoods represent. 

Project links

Research team

Prof. J.A. Phillimore
University of Birmingham

Prof. H. Bradby
Uppsala University

Prof. M. Knecht
Universität Bremen

Prof. B. Padilla
University of Minho