Somers Town & St Pancras Festival of Light, 29th of October, 2016
One of the things you could not help but hear in both the Brexit discussion in the UK and the arduous run up to the presidential election in the States is the worrying tone of debate around immigration. Conservative, nativist movements cite immigration as the source of everything from housing shortages to stagnant wages to loss of cultural identity and a threat to “our way of life.”
But whose way of life? In the UK, this discussion is based in a notion of Britishness – all church fetes & cups of tea – yet this hasn’t been the dominant culture for a long time, while casting immigrants as others and a threat to British values.
I am white & a native English speaker, my accent is heard every day on telly; I’m an invisible immigrant. Others don’t have that luxury, and overt & covert hostility has been brought out by this debate, but immigration has always been part of Britain’s story.
I’m not sure where this project is going yet – I am very aware that the St. George’s flag has been hijacked by racists in the past, and have a desire to stamp our names & stake our claim to Britishness right in the center of it.