‘And then we just let our creativity take over’
Cultural production in a provincial city
in Stories from a migrant city
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Beginning with oral history extracts from a white former factory worker, resident by choice in multi-ethnic central Peterborough, Chapter 5 turns to a different source of stories: four books published in 2016 and all based on the lives of Peterborough residents. The books vary from the part-fictionalised biography of a Holocaust survivor as narrated by an EU national and former food factory worker currently resident in the city, through a South Asian cookery book that links Peterborough, Bradford and Pakistan, to the product of a year-long artist’s residency at Peterborough’s Green Backyard and a book of reunion photographs taken across a gap of thirty years that has received worldwide media coverage. Taken together, the four books evoke city residents’ connections across space and time. They show how the ever-shifting present in the city is made, at least in part, by the geographically wide-ranging pasts of its people. They also hint at the opposite: how the work, actions and objects produced by and with Peterborough residents affect, influence and shape other places. While the books are produced by professionals, each of them contains elements of ‘professional amateur’ creativity and the non-elite cosmopolitanism that sits alongside racism and xenophobia in the city.

Stories from a migrant city

Living and working together in the shadow of Brexit

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