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Gentrification is a word that is thrown around a lot nowadays. While it was once exclusively used as shorthand to describe the process of rising house prices pushing out lower income families, it is now regularly used as an umbrella term for so-called hipster culture made up of facial hair, yoga and cereal bars.
But where does the fault lie? With individuals and subcultures? Or big business and property developers? What good does pointing the finger do anyway?
It feels like there is a need to disrupt these unsatisfying explanations and reclaim what is happening to our urban space. We need to construct a new way of framing our own stories and felt experiences of exclusion, anxiety, guilt, and hopelessness. In this way we might find a way to refute the well-rehearsed narrative that gentrification is an inevitable process that we are helpless against, and instead discover new ways to perform collective resilience.
This exhibition showcases how Coexist implement embodied facilitation and arts practice to consider everyday social tensions and political issues. We have held a series of events and workshops specifically interrogating Coexist’s own role within processes of urban regeneration and gentrification. The purpose is to consider what lessons we’ve learned and how these can inform future decisions regarding purchasing the Hamilton House building or any other spaces.
The work on display has been developed as co-produced research between Coexist and the University of Bristol. The research is attached to the Productive Margins programme and has been funded by the ESRC and AHRC.