Interview – Film @ Ridley Road

A. B. 

The filmmaker focuses on documentary style films. His film on Ridley Road ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ has been shown at local Rio cinema together with Concrete Soldiers UK, which takes you on an exhilarating journey depicting people’s battles against the big developers and Councils, arguing that they are splitting apart communities in the name of progress.

Time to Say Goodbye‘ focuses on Leigh, and her last day working at Ridley Road market. She began her journey when she was five selling cauliflowers with her grandmother. She is the last generation in a long line of market sellers on the market. However Ridley Road has changed over the years and Leigh no longer feels this is her calling in life. Leigh gives us an emotional account of her life on the market and paints a vivid picture of Ridley Road over the years. It is still an important place of belonging for so many people and is a strong hub for the local community. However the recent threat of closing the large indoor market has made Leigh worry about it’s future. This story of Ridley Road Market is a microcosm of what’s happening around the world as community life is threatened by profit driven agendas.

How did people working/shopping at the market react to and interact with you/the camera?

Most of the people at the market were quite hostile towards the camera. I can understand that. It is a difficult situation for the people working there, they do not really know what is happening and for how much longer they can stay there. The camera maybe reminded them of that conflict. But Leigh has been open and friendly from the beginning.

What is the focus/goal of your short film?

We wanted to create an emotional account of the market. The focus should lie on her love and feelings towards this space/place. However, gentrification is an inevitable subject and therefore also a point of focus of it. Also, because it is one of the main reasons for Leigh to leave. She feels a distance to the sellers/buyers or simply community in general. She says that times have changed and she does not feel at home anymore. I do not entirely agree. I think the market is still authentic and has a lively atmosphere, but of course I did not work there for the last 50 years.

Do you think your film gave Leigh a voice/let her be heard?

Yes and No. I don’t think she necessarily wanted to be heard, but it still opened up discussions on the gentrification process and I am sure she does not mind that. It might allowed an unique insight into the perspectives of the sellers, which is usually disregarded.

How would you describe the relationship between Art and Gentrification? 

I think it is a very complex issue. I think with my film I supported the market and sellers. But for example, the council often uses artists to justify their gentrification process. They argue that artists make a place ‘cool’ and eventually ‘commercial’. The building 51-63 is a good example. Once the art studios opened, many young, creative people came to Ridley Road and it began to be a ‘place to be’. But I think it is a combination of causes. To have studios in this building made and still make sense the most. They fit in. Luxury housing or office spaces would clash.

What do you think will eventually happen to Ridley Road?

I always say it is a ‘standarisation’ process. Everything looks and becomes the same. It will become like any other market in London; Broadway or even Borough market. But why take away diversity? Why take away jobs people love and force them to go work at big corporations like tesco’s/sainsbury’s? The main argument is probably safety and how drugs play a major role in the market or specifically the underground market. But in comparisons with gentrified neighborhoods like Shoreditch and Soho, the drug issue is relatively small.

Interview – Artist Studios 51-63

J.A.

The artist is based between London and Amsterdam and has exhibited in many well-known galleries and museum such as the Tate Modern, London and the Institute of Continuation, Stockholm. He was featured in ICA’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition in 2013.

How did you come to live/work in Dalston or more specifically at Ridley Road market?

I have been working in this studio since 2016 and I actually live really close by. Before I rented this studio it was a so-called ‘art room’, where artists would exhibit their work. I used to come here a lot in 2011, when I was still studying at Goldsmith University. I took over the rent-contract from another artist, who back then made a 10 year contract like most other artists working in this building. My partner and I decided to move to Dalston, even though most our friends are located in Peckham. Anyways, through the Dalston overground you can directly get to Peckham.

In the beginning I did not want to live in Dalston. The gentrification process has already started and Dalston was known for its very active nightlife, similarly to Shoreditch. I guess nowadays most people working in the art world are located South and only artists from earlier generations are still here, in East London. But I came to love Dalston because it still has some authentic places and spaces, such as Ridley Road market.

What is your relationship with the market? are you a costumer?

What makes Ridley Road market so unique and essential, is its broad variety of very specific and rare goods, which are based on the interests/cuisine of West-African communities. I do go buy vegetables and other products at the market, but I am not its target audience. The market satisfies culturally specific needs, which are hard or impossible to find anywhere else, and that is the reason why many people come here from all around London and even from areas further away.

What role does your studio/the building 51-63 play in context with the market?

What most people do not know is, that in the basement of this building  there is an underground market and storage space for most of the stalls at the marker. If it gets converted into luxury apartment; the reality for the artists is very different then the one from the market sellers. Yes, artists will eventually find a new studio. But the sellers will not find another space to storage their products/facilities. I think this is the main issue, regarding this specific building. If this building goes, together with the basement, then the market will become smaller or eventually disappear entirely.

Has this been an issue before? Is it the first time this building (or the market) is in ‘danger’?

As far as I remember, there have already been three previous proposals to convert this building into a luxury housing complex. But none oft hem got accepted by Hackney Labour Council. We (the artists) hope that the current one will be denied too, but this time I am not so sure. It is quite funny because generally we (the artists) are seen as part oft he gentrification process. In some ways this is true; there are various cultural differences in the market, and I guess artists belong tot he ‚new elite’.

About three years ago, Ridley Road was famous for its high density of nightclubs. There were at least ten clubs in the middle of the market stalls. Nowadays, the focus shifted from night-life to day-life. This change literally happened from one day to another. The council denied and took away the clubs’ licenses and shut them down (except from Ridley Road market bar). I do not know why that happened, but probably belongs to a bigger plan of the council, avoiding another vibrant area like Shoreditch and support the idea of a housing area.

How often do you (artist studios) come in contact with the local council/authorities?

I think there are two main misunderstandings from the standpoint of the local council.

On the one hand, it seems that they confuse or simply put Ridley Road market in the same category as other markets in Hackney such as Broadway market. During a demonstration last year, which was in relation to the on-going petition against the re-development of the 51-63 building, a representative of the council explained their commitment for local markets; but compared Ridley Road with Broadway market. Broadway market is already gentrified, products and stall rent are more expensive and its in general more focused on a very different, middle-class audience.

On the other hand, the council does not understand why art studios are the best solution to occupy buildings on this road. No one lives here on Ridley Road. It is a work space. People working at the market never had to engage with residents in that manner before. Frankly, I do not think it would be possible to combine or keep the market alive and have people living here in luxurious apartments. The market opens around 03.00-04.30 am. That means, that fishmongers and butchers transport their fresh products and place them in their stalls. That makes a lot of noise and smell. As soon as the first consumers arrive, the shouting (people shouting around what they sell as part of advertisement) starts. And that is good. That is how a market is supposed to be. We at our art studios do not mind. It is part of working here and in some ways it can even enhance our artistic inspiration.

Why do you think the focus of the developers lies so much on luxury housing?

Apparently, Rainbow Architects (responsible for the development of the 51-63 building) already has planned out a plan B, for when the council denies their initial proposal of luxurious flats. The second proposal are so-called ‘hot desk office spaces’. They are flexible office spaces, which can be rented. I think there is the misconception that the artists now working in the area (this building) will still have the possibility to simply rent one of these office spaces. But that is not what is going to happen. Studios and office spaces are very different. Studios are rustical, it can get loud, it can get dirty and artists (at least the ones now working in 51-63) do not mind the noise etc. from the market. Flexible office desks are expensive, they feature expensive goods (computers etc.), and are in need for expensive services.

What is Ridley Road market’s relevance to London in general?

It is cultural capital.

Penultimate Group Meeting Recap

As presentation day looms ever closer, we felt it would be both productive and useful to schedule in a supplementary meeting this week. As such, we met again on Saturday in what proved to be an especially efficient and reassuring discussion.

Since we had devised the barebones structure of what our presentation would entail in the previous meeting, we now focussed upon honing down the details of its format, content, and structure, as well as assigning individual roles and contributions. We decided that our court would be presented as a kind of moral court of appeals, situated externally from any singular culture context or legal parameters, existing in a kind of purgatory, wherein cases that could possibly be deemed to have been failed by real-world legal structures are re-examined within a broader ethical framework. With this in mind, we decided that three of us would provide evidence and testimony -quoting academic reading and various legal precedent- in aid of the appellant, while the other acts as judge. The inclusion of this role within the actual presentation, as opposed to inviting our peers to act as a jury, gives us the opportunity to provide more nuanced explanation of concepts and ideas, as the judge will interject into each individual appeal in order to ask for additional information, point out a counter-argument, and also to simply orchestrate the smooth transition between elements of the presentation. The judge will also provide the opening and closing statements of the case.

In addition to this, various specific yet more minor details of the presentation were also ironed out, including the order in which we will speak, the decisions upon who will assume which role, and also the question of what stylistic elements to include.

The job from here then, is for each of us to use our already extensive bibliography in order to construct our own scripts for the case. After they have each been created, we will peer edit them with a google doc in order to create a singular and coherent script for us all to follow throughout the presentation.

I feel like we are now in an especially solid position, with a manageable workload to be completed before the presentation on Monday. Most questions about what format the presentation will take and in what way it will be presented have been answered, and we already have compiled more than enough academic research to flesh out the presented appeals. What remains then, is to bring everything together into our now fully established mode of presentation, to rehearse, and finally: to present.

Conflict Group C: Reflection on Interdisciplinary methods and Team Work

1- How did we use interdisciplinary approaches?

For our presentation on gentrification in Dalston and Brixton, we used different interdisciplinary approaches in order to incorporate each member’s field of studies and ideas into the project.  We decided to use Tatjana’s Fanny Honegger’s major (Film studies) as a mean to convey our ideas to the jury. We chose to present our project through the form of a short film integrating pictures, quotes, interviews, lyrics and other resources we used throughout our research. This form of presenting will enable us to save time in order to cover the complex and inclusive topic of gentrification. We also believe a filmed presentation will enable us to present our ideas in an effective and focused manner, therefore gathering the diverse interdisciplinary approaches together in a clear way. The presentation through a film is also a creative approach to the topic that we thought would be entertaining and original. We used photography to picture the areas we cover in our presentation, showing the development of Dalston and Brixton and how those spaces were affected by gentrification by juxtaposing recent photos to ancient ones taken before the gentrification process was put into effect. Through the analysis of historical events including the protests against gentrification in Brixton for example, the research on the historical background of the districts we cover, and interpretations of development and their effects on inhabitants as well as spaces, Charlotte Dean contributed to the interdisciplinary nature of our project through the application of methods used in her major: History. Jake Allister Glasmacher’s field of studies, politics, informed our decision to use a neutral approach to the topic. We used methods and approaches common in today’s politics, including adopting a neutral stance in face of a complex and polemical topic, by approaching people affected by gentrification’s effects while considering their potential political opinions and personal sensitivities. Our questions evidence this neutral stance and respect for the interviewees’ different political sensitivities. We had to put aside our political opinions in order to cover the topic of gentrification in an effective and clear manner. Through the inclusion of artistic resources in the form of Hip-Hop lyrics, we also used Josephine Coustet’s field of studies, English. By analyzing and close-reading extracts of the different Hip-Hop genres common in Dalston and Brixton (Grime and Drill respectively), we attempted to present youth’s reaction to social, economic and political changes at play in their areas, their reaction to the social situation to which they are subjects on a daily basis, and their potential reaction to gentrification. The use of Hip-Hop lyrics and associated research also permitted us to question the importance of the gentrification process in artistic developments and the artists’ social situation. Other interdisciplinary approaches outside our majors were critical for researching our project. We believe sociological methods permitted us to understand the social forces at play behind the gentrification process. Immigration, social classes and demographic research centered on Dalston and Brixton were topics we had to research in order to understand how gentrification affected negatively certain populations, while others profited from it. Communication methods enabled us to devise our questionnaires, chose how to approach interviewees, informed our journalistic research and choice of presentation form.

2- -Opportunities and how we took advantage of them:

-Working as a team with interdisciplinary methods offered us numerous opportunities we availed ourselves of.

-We understood the importance of interdisciplinarity thank to other team member contribution to the project. We involved ourselves in topics that we do not necessarily cover in our major, including politics, history and film studies. We used art in our project and understood its implication in social, economic and political changes. Interdisciplinarity permitted us to approach our topic in a creative manner, integrating multiple resources from music, photography to interviews. Team work required a lot of organization and research, which turned out to be an entertaining experience for all members.

-The topic of gentrification also permitted us to know and study areas of London with more depth. We had to visit the areas we covered and meet their inhabitants, therefore extending our knowledge of the city. Getting into contact with people affected by gentrification also enabled us to become aware of the practical effects of political, social and economic measures. We also learned how to approach complex and polemical topics while considering differing views than ours. Researching the topic of gentrification also gave us awareness of the diverse impacts of immigration in London, and our own roles as potential gentrifiers.

-The research we undertook for the completion of our project entailed meeting with people concerned by gentrification. From artists to inhabitants, the opportunities we derived from meeting with people were tremendous. Josephine Coustet contacted one of her favorite Hip-Hop band, Foreign Beggars, through social media and they accepted to answer questions in a meeting. This meeting would never have been possible outside the context of our presentation and team work. Tatjana Honegger also contacted a member of the Brixton Windmill. Such interviews will be an advantage for our future careers as it transmitted us communication and journalistic skills.

 3- -Challenges and how we coped with them:

– Researching for our presentation and working as a team confronted us with numerous challenges we had to cope with.

-Working in a group in which team members came from a diversity of departments enabled each of us to learn how to cope with dilemmas relating to the integration of disparate ideas and methods in our project. Mingling those interdisciplinary approaches together was difficult to the extent that the link between them was not always blatant to us. Through discussion during our meetings, sharing notes online and meeting outside the scheduled meeting hours, we managed to associate different ideas together in order to harmonize our very disparate researches. We had to brainstorm how to clearly associate those approaches to make an intelligible argument and presentation. Structuring our research came to be a challenge we believe we coped effectively with. The solution of a film presentation would enable us to mingle all the different approaches together by gathering pictures, quotes and music for example. We also managed to avoid challenges common in team work. We found that we did not argue on how we would proceed in our project, and reached agreement easily thank to clear communication. We managed to avoid dissention by dividing tasks according to what interested us the most. One of the biggest challenge related to team work and interdisciplinarity was how to assemble our ideas, and we came to a handy solution that pleased us all: presenting our project through the form of a film.

-Choosing a topic of interest to the different members of the group was also a challenge we had to overcome. Through brainstorming and communication, we reached an agreement. We would cover gentrification, its development and its effects in the street-markets of Dalston and Brixton. However, another challenged awaited us: the outcome of our researches did not clearly match our original topic. Some critical resources we found were scarce to pursue such a topic. We decided to modify our topic in order to pursue our research. Thank to this plan-change, we managed to gather different relevant resources available to us in order to answer our new topic focused on the pertinence of theories and gentrification’s practical effects on individuals and spaces.

-Structuring our ideas was a serious challenge that we had to deal as a group. We decided to structure individually the project as if we were the sole contributor, to afterwards discuss our ideas and reach an agreement through thorough consideration of each other’s findings.

-Time was also a major challenge we had to deal with. Coping with team member’s availabilities, absences and schedules required communication and organization in order to pursue our research according to the strict temporal requirements that constrained our project. We had to be diligent in our work and research in order to advance effectively and not be overwhelmed. To avoid lateness, we decided to meet outside the schedules class hours and discuss extensively the next steps we would take. Communication through email, and social media also permitted us to share our ideas and marshal our progress in due time. Waking up at 8 am on Wednesday was also a challenge we had to overcome as responsible team members.

-Due to the nature of our presentation, one of the biggest challenge we had to overcome was getting into contact with people affected by gentrification. The question was how and who to interview? Thank to interdisciplinary approaches like Politics and Communication, we managed to devise questions that were respectful of the interviewee’s potential political opinions. We had to take moderate risks and get ambitious by getting involved personally with inhabitants of the areas. Tatjana Fanny Honegger was involved in risky situation when she was addressed by hostile people in a market place she intended to visit, picture and interview workers.

-Space-saving methods, what we chose to omit in our project, were critical to our progress. We had to decide to omit topics relevant to our broad and complex presentation subject for the sake of space saving, focus and consideration for extremely complex matters we thought extensive research would be required. For example, we chose not to analyze the significance of race and ethnic issues in gentrification. Extensive and scarce demographic statistics associated to gentrification on Dalston and Brixton would be required to incorporate such a theme in the presentation. For lack of time, space and probably skills, we did not integrate this topic in our project.

Week 9 Meeting Summary

In last weeks meeting we finalised the creative framework of our presentation, deciding that a ficitonalised courtroom would be the main feature of the project. In sharing our ideas from last weeks script writing task, we realised that we would need analyse the courtroom script, and spoke about whether it would be best to provide an integrated analysis or to designate a separate analytical segment.

Since the main objective of our project is now a process of creative writing, we felt that the most streamlined way of approaching this would be to write individually and appraise our work as a group. This weeks meeting was used to make ourselves aware of the variety of stylistic choices we might make. This discussion included whether the courtroom would be a parody of the legal system in order to critique it or whether we opt for a more documentary style, whether we would play the part of our references ‘voices’,  whether we would use audio-visual tools to present witness statements or evidence, and whether we would include our ‘audience-examiners’ in the framework of the presentation in line with immersive political theatre techniques.

While this weeks meeting was more textually thin than some previous ones, I felt that it was no less productive. Finalising the creative framework of our presentation has provided a focus for our individual work, as well precision for our arguments overall.

Next week we plan to think about what route to go down theatrically, and plan to contact performance scholars at kings who have written on the intersection between theatre and law, such as Dr Alan Read, who can provide insight into what a ficitonalised courtroom might look like.

Social Media and Mobilisation Reading

Philip N. Howard et al., ‘Social Media, Civic Engagement, and the Slacktivism Hypothesis: Lessons from Mexico’s ‘El Bronco’’ in Journal of International Affairs, 70(1), 55-73.

An article that debates to what extent social media can result in meaningful mobilisation of people. Although it is speaking about political engagement, with a case study on a Mexican state governor candidate, I think it raises points that can be applied more broadly to the role of social media in creating activism.

  • Slacktivisim hypothesis: if citizens use social media for political conversations, those conversations will be fleeting and vapid – supposition that if internet or social media use increases, civic engagement decline

Pro-slacktivism hypothesis:

  • Most political and activist groups are still in the dark on how best to mobilise people
  • Main difficulty arises because citizens’ decisions about how much to participate in a cause depend on how they perceive the efforts of the leader/organisation
  • Among advanced democracies, social media seems to have resulted in only modest forms of activism, such as petition signing or sharing political content from affinity groups over networks of family and friends
  • Content shared over social media relating to politics usually consists of short messages shared by people with short tempers in short conversations – conversations are often anaemic, uncivil or polarising
  • During major political events/when an issue is a particularly topical, social media users will use platforms to learn about and interact with issues, but they tend to acquire new knowledge that is favourable to their preferred viewpoint – digital echo chamber
  • Social media use causes people to turn their social networks into ‘filter bubbles’ that diminish the chance of exposure to new or challenging ideas
  • Questions how much new information can be found? On the other hand, topics and subjects you are interested in are easier to find e.g. facebook events
  • Now the importance of social media is clear: multiple examples of traditional social movements that have scored impressive victories through their effective use of social media, as well as new social movements that have originated online and become stable civil society actors
  • Complicated by the growing problem of algorithmic control over social media messaging: automated programmes can be used to activate citizens or to discourage their engagement
  • Evidence that young adolescents’ use of social media – in conjunction with the intent to participate and the consumption of TV news – creates a virtuous circle of civic engagement

Anti-slacktivism hypothesis:

  • Studying how an independent candidate from Mexico won the race for state governor through using social media to communicate with the public and eschewed traditional media outlets – triggered sustained public engagement well beyond election day
  • Demonstrates that social media can be used to sustain a large quantity of civic exchanges about public life well beyond a particular political event
  • Pro-democracy protests: activists and protest leaders say social media was essential to the organisation of the protests
  • When a leader and citizens are comfortable using social media, the impact is positive for both kinds of political actors
  • If candidates for elected office and the public use social media for political conversation, they can create new patterns of civic engagement that can last for months beyond an election
  • I think this can be translated into a climate change context: if leaders of groups, e.g. XR, can engage the public then they can maintain civic engagement that can last for months beyond a high-profile/high-turnout protest

First Impressions – Photography

Here are some initial impressions of the work a local photographer (Vera Zrubrügg) from Dalston did @Ridley Road market, in collaboration with our TAD project.

She decided to focus on the market sellers and show their everyday lives and behaviors. Furthermore, she took photographs of the unique and rare goods that are being sold at the market and that show its cultural diversity.

Ideas on structure and theories

Here is some research I did into thinking about how we could structure the presentation around the information we have so far. This is a skeleton structure so it doesn’t have every detail of the examples we have, but aims to give a rough idea of how we can structure the presentation. I also consolidated theories from the blog posts and other sources into categories which I hope will make things easier.

Skeleton structure:

  • Answer what is gentrification?
    • Use the theories to describe gentrification and the stage models
    • Gentrification as evolved from Ruth Glass’ original definition. The academic field not focuses on statistics which remove the lived experience (Stacey Sutton) and that we should make a conscious effort not to remove the lived experience.
    • Then say Loretta Lees quote about orderly progression and say that we don’t believe it can be this orderly
    • We say how we believe reality is messier, more emotive and can’t be pushed into a fixed category in a text (Rose, D). They remove the human consequences of gentrification and the effect on communities.
  • Say that we will use the case studies of Dalston and Brixton to reflect on the conflict between the theories and the lived experience. Arguing that the only way to fully comprehend gentrification is to analyze multiple mediums through which it is expressed.
  • Case studies:
    • Talk about origin of gentrification in each place (acknowledge that gentrification is further along in Brixton)
    • The role of artists (they are arguably the original gentrifiers but then sometimes they also have to leave – they can help bring communities back together ‘Our Brixton’ – another expression of anger – analyze the photo of the wind rush family outside Brixton station which Sonya pointed out and say how its a recent piece of art that is showing where Brixton originated from at a time where there is a loss of community)
    • The role of music (expresses anger, reflect on what is happening in their home – Grime – Reggae – Drill)
    • The role of poetry (Linton Kwesi Johnson)
    • Affect on the community of these areas (interviews – price rice, markets now selling food from all over the world – loss of identity – Sonya lived in Brixton her whole life and despite not having to move from gentrification she feels the effects because she now feels isolated due to most of her community leaving the area)
    • Protests and the community fighting back (Reclaim Brixton, protests Loretta Lees discussed – resistance succeeding)
  • Talk about the conflict within the conflict:
    • Whose voice is heard? What is the effect of hearing about gentrification from gentrifiers rather than the gentrified? By using the multi-medium approach we see local people gain voices through art, music and poetry
  • Conclusion:
    • Reflect on the methods we used and why we thought they were most effective
    • Discuss the conflict between theories and lived realities
    • Reflect on role of theories
    • Mention why we did not include race as a focus (gentrification disproportionately displaces and affects black and brown people)
    • Show how the question has made us move between different disciplines (methods) and morphed (live research project)
    • Stacey Sutton powerfully says that gentrification comes down to who we value and how we want to act upon that. I think this is an insightful comment and connects well with Adam Wheatle’s comment about who the markets cater for.
    • Reflect on if gentrification is inevitable
      • Gentrification doesn’t have to be inevitable: revitalisation refers to neighbourhood change and improvement from the bottom up, done by community residents and organisations. This process includes improving houses, attracting businesses and making the neighbourhood safe and clean, but the neighbourhood remains affordable for local people. It can also be addressed through policies that implement rent control, progressive land tax and restrict predatory investment schemes. (Stacey Sutton) – Gentrification, if done right, can be seen as a way for communities and people to come together – Loretta Lees: Refurbishment is cheaper and more environmentally and socially stable than rebuilding – Dan Hancox, “urban change is not like the weather, and gentrification is not organic, inevitable and natural”
      • In 1970s neoclassical economists’ said that gentrification was a ‘natural, inevitable market adjustment process, something to be celebrated as part of an apparent middle-class return to the central city from suburbia’ (Slater) but we think (so does Lees) that today it is not inevitable and is being resisted

Presentation idea that we discussed: Play the film cutting Tatiana received behind us while we talk about Brixton and then as we talk about quotations they pop up on the screen along with additional pictures

Theories gathered from blog notes and other sources:

What is gentrification:

  • Three stages of gentrification (1970s) Loretta Lees, ‘The Birth of Gentrification’
  • Ruth Glass’ original definition: (1960s) Introduction to London – ‘One by one, many of the working-class quarters of London have been invaded by the middle classes—upper and lower … Once this process of ‘gentrification’ starts in a district it goes on rapidly until all or most of the original working-class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed (Glass, 1964, p. xviii). – Tom Slater on Ruth Glass: When Ruth first coined ‘gentrification’ she was talking about her ‘concerns about the accelerating rehabilitation of Victorian lodging houses, tenurial transformation from renting to owning, property price increases and the displacement of working-class occupiers by middle-class incomers’

How gentrification has evolved from Glass’ original definition:

  • “Gentrification was initially understood as the rehabilitation of decaying and low-income housing by middle-class outsiders in central cities. In the late 1970s a broader conceptualization of the process began to emerge, and by the early 1980s new scholarship had developed a far broader meaning of gentrification, linking it with processes of spatial, economic and social restructuring.” (Saskia Sassen 1991: 255 in Slater)
  • Tom Slater talking about how the word gentrification has evolved since Glass: today it is ‘a word around which class struggles and urban social movements… could mobilize and gain visibility and political momentum.’ ‘“Gentrification” simply yet very powerfully captures the class inequalities and injustices created by capitalist urban land markets and policies’

Pivotal quotation for arguing that we need the lived experience to fully understand gentrification:

  • Loretta Lees: ‘One of the reasons that stage models of gentrification were developed was to cope with the temporal variations in gentrification that were already apparent in the 1970s. Gentrification stage models were designed to represent gentrification in an orderly, temporal, sequential progression.’ (the birth of gentrification) – We then argue that the experience of gentrification cannot be defined into such an orderly fashion when the lived experience differs among people and communities

Theorists that agree that theories are not enough/remove important lived experience:

  • Stacey Sutton: measuring gentrification academically can remove the lived experience and we should make a conscious effort not to disregard this experience (youtube Ted Talk)
  • Smith and Williams (1986, 3 in Tom Slater): in reality gentrification is “a highly dynamic process, it is not amenable to overly restrictive definitions”
  • Tom Slater: ‘Just as there are valuable theoretical lessons to be learned from critical studies of the formation and constitution of middle-class gentrifiers, so there are from poignant accounts of love and loss in the context of the devastation of displacement’ (‘Gentrification of the City’)
  • D Rose (1984): She criticized stage models for lumping together different processes and effects, she thought of gentrification as a “chaotic concept” instead. “The terms ‘gentrification’ and ‘gentrifiers’… are ‘chaotic conceptions’ which obscure the fact that a multiplicity of processes, rather than a single causal process, produce changes int eh occupation of inner-city neighborhoods, from the lower to higher income residents” (Rose, D, (1984) ‘Rethinking gentrification: Beyond the uneven development of Marxist urban theory’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 1: 47-74)
  • Loretta Lees talking about the effect of language on the actual lived reality of gentrification: Words that have hidden gentrification in them to market class change as a positive process for cities: urban regeneration, urban renaissance, urban redevelopment, mixed communities policy and the creative city. Mixed communities is when council houses are redeveloped and the middle classes move in and lower classes move out, so you don’t actually get mixing you get gentrification and social segregation.

 

Extra meeting

To do list:

Everyone print off their interviews and think about how to structure the presentation and come with ideas on Wednesday.

Tatjana: Write up interview

Josephine: Reflect on methods used and why we decided not to make race a focus

Charlotte: Sort out the theories into which ones support/oppose our thoughts

Jake: Think about structure

Critical Literature on Media and Climate Change

‘Four cultures: new synergies for engaging society on climate change’
Authors: Matthew C Nisbet, Mark A Hixon, Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael Nelson
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecological Society of America (8.6, 2010), pp. 329-221
https://www.jstor.org/stable/25741227

Points:

  • A shift in societal attitudes towards climate change requires a multidisciplinary approach and cannot be managed only by scientists and the scientific community
  • Current state of matters:
    • Scientists tend to bring more and more technical information in response to slow societal reaction to climate change news
    • Top-down approaches tend to ‘fuel polarisation and public disengagement’ (329)
  • Four cultures of environmental sciences, philosophy and religion, social sciences and the creative arts – all required to work in synergy to convince the public to care about climate change
  • Communication research demonstrates that much of the public have no ability or motivation to be informed about the details of climatology, choosing to rely on social identity, cultural traditions, personal experience, localised knowledge and/or popular media to comprehend climate issues
    • Thus the most effective method to rouse action is when it is framed in terms of community values or a subject they are familiar and concerned with
  • One of the proposals was that a digital news community be formed, with the suggestion that social media tools are used to match up members from different disciplines to discover complementary expertise, and to plan and coordinate a diversity of communication and public outreach initiatives

‘Climate Change as Meme’
Author: Samir Nazareth
Economic and Political Weekly (46.2, 2011), pp. 17-19, 21
https://www.jstor.org/stable/27918007

Points:

  • According to Richard Dawkins, memes are ‘cultural ideas which include symbols and practices that can be transmitted through various forms of communication’ (17)
  • Three main memes examined: renewable energy meme, energy efficient meme, and transformation of the pollution meme
  • Memes do not only propagate ideas but act as ways to comprehend complex phenomenon and encourage climate change action

‘Screen Cultures in the Asia-Pacific’
Authors: Larissa Hjorth, Sarah Pink, Kristen Sharp and Linda Williams
Book: Screen Ecologies: Art, Media, and the Environment in the Asia-Pacific Region (MIT Press, 2016),  pp. 57-88
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1c2crsq.8

Points:

  • Social media (particularly mobile media and its platforms) allows users to become active members in the experience, management and aftermath of environmental disasters
    • Example: in Japan, in the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in March 2011, mobile phones were used extensively to capture and disseminate images around the globe. For many people, Twitter messages and still and moving images taken with camera phones not only embodied the effect and affect of the disaster but also became the repository for various forms of personal and communal grief and bereavement (Hjorth and Kim 2011)
    • Note that national Japanese broadcaster NHK had deliberately withheld information from the public on the government’s orders
    • Social and mobile media act as both witness and alibi
  • In contrast, those without access to mobile phones had less opportunity to mobilise and take agency in the dissemination of information and media about environmental disasters
    • Example: in the Philippines an initial lack of images surrounding Haiyan was due to the fact that many affected people shared one mobile phone among a family, and most of these phones did not have cameras. Instead the images that emerged from the disaster were by professional photojournalists. They were well conceived in terms of the conventions of photojournalism, with attention to composition, and could be interpreted as being highly contrived. These were not the highly personal, intimate, DIY images associated with mobile media.
  • New media artists e.g. New Zealander Janine Randerson
    • In 2008, Randerson monitored the effects of climate change on animal and bird migration, then combined scientific data visualisation with found amateur footage from YouTube to create her video installation Cascade
  • Camera phone apps and images can be used for documenting, sharing, communicating, and critically commenting on environmental disasters to everyday experiences of the environment, but themselves contribute to the perpetuation of the consumer society that is a factor in climate change
    • Digital platforms break down parameters between the amateur and the professional, leading to a democratisation of media usage and dissemination
    • Camera phone as a critical part of the environment being an embodied and affective experience of place
    • Note that accessibility expansion via social media must be understood in relation to ways in which the technologies are part of globally distributed corporate and institutional power relations supported by national agendas and consumer cultures
  • Mobile media nevertheless still plays a significant role in the making of critical and participatory arts practice in relation to climate change
    • How can environmentally responsible uses of digital media engage in the mitigation of climate change through arts practice?

‘Climate change oppression: media production as the practice of freedom’
Author: Grady Walker
Consilience (9, 2013), pp. 97-106
https://www.jstor.org/stable/26476128

Points:

  • Use of participatory media as an effective tool for climate change education
  • Media scholar Henry Jenkins: ‘We are moving away from a world in which some produce and many consume media toward one in which everyone has a more active stake in the culture that is produced’
  • Paper argues that adaptation is as necessary as mitigation to combat climate change, using participatory video distributed online on social media platforms as the main example