When the fire starts beneath the concrete cap of the landfill, it burns itself out and creates an empty vacuum that pulls on everything that sits above it. Over a period of months we watch the house across the street slowly sink into the cavern below and we know that the only direction it will go is down, so we run.  Dorothy Allison calls it the geographic solution – that urge to leave what you have rather than stay and try to fix it, driven by “the conviction that the life you have lived, the person you are, is valueless, better off abandoned, that running away is easier than trying to change things, that change itself is not possible.”1

We run from Glasgow and London. From Dublin and the hills of Castelnuovo de Garfagnana. Run from islands, ports and prairie. From Lemon Street, L7, Longsight, from Alberta’s frozen ground.

It doesn’t feel like running when you’re doing it – only later when someone asks why and you try to explain: run from bad job to no job to poisonous lip of the barrel job. From booze and dangerous men with heavy hands and religion. Run from mental illness in a hostile land. From poverty that haunts our kitchens and winters that cut into the backs of our heels. Run. Because she married the wrong man. Run. Because he borrowed the wrong money. Run. Things go bad and then there’s a pub somewhere that needs managing, a bingo, a cafe, a window fitting crew looking for one more guy and the vague promise of work to the west (of Scotland, of Canada – we have heard this before). 

And then: those first months in the new place scary as hell, walking around feeling freshly skinned, wondering if people can smell it. Scary as hell because now anything feels possible, because we walk a little taller, sing songs at the bus stop under our breath, look up. There on the other side, the hope. Going back four generations on each branch of my family, as far back as I know, we have all pursued the geographic solution. 

I’ve run so many times that I maintained the habit of holding onto cardboard boxes deep into my thirties. It was a protected tenancy on a council flat that convinced me to finally recycle them, and even now when I get my hands on a good sturdy box, I imagine filling it, wonder if there’s space behind the bookshelf for one more escape plan broken down to fit.

I know that part of what has allowed me to run is whiteness. I may not be able to hide my crumbling teeth but most everywhere I’ve lived my skin has been accepted as ‘from here’ – that most contentious and fucked up of places. ‘From here’: like Glasgow, 1940, a mob roaring down the street and methodically taking out each Italian-run business, smashing up the ice cream shop, the chippy, and then skipping over Granddad’s shop window because his accent is Scottish and he looks sort of Irish and nobody knows his last name. Friends with darker skin than mine get asked again and again and again where they’re from when their answer is, ‘Here. I’m from here.’  

I’ve never been from here. I spent half my life on colonised land, an immigrant with conditional status and borrowed memories, but, as long as I kept quiet and unqueer, my whiteness meant I was generally accepted as ‘from here’. Whiteness means that I am not told to go back to where I came from (the edge of the sea, the bingo hall, the foot of the mountain – where do I come from?) but rather when I leave, I am told in more material ways to stay gone. The rents go up and the flats get smaller and more exclusive, thinner walls, so like the turn of the next tide I move to another fixer upper, one with a bad roof maybe, mushrooms on the ceiling. Change accent a few times, successfully, at first, until eventually it gets caught between destinations, restless, no longer knowing how to settle down. Stay in somebody’s spare room, stay on a couch. It’s not homelessness till you’re asked to leave, till you hit the shelter, right? Not homelessness if you still have a job? Selling possessions one by one, whittling down to those I can’t bear to part with. I’ve learned (like my parents, and their parents, and their parents before them) how to pack up quick, throw the broken bed frame in the dumpster before dawn and leave, hold onto one maybe two people from back there, and otherwise look forward, start new. Run from trouble, and see if it works out better this time. 

This is one of the essential threads weaving its way through my family, every generation crossing borders away from violence or towards work well into their sixties, trying to outrun the kind of things that – when you don’t have money – can bury a person. We run with optimism too sometimes, run towards hope. There are places we have lived, but there is no definitive home turf to which we return. Home is a time, not a place. Home is present tense, holding tight to the edge.

My first understanding of class was based on what I saw around me as a kid: in my mind Cathy’s family was rich because their house was detached and everyone else (in a terrace or flat) was normal. It was normal to lose your job and have to sign on for a couple of years or move for another one.  It was normal to live with extended family sometimes. It was normal to learn about debt through the ceremonial cutting up of the hardware store card over the bin. And it was normal to build your own bunk bed and work the night shift at Tesco and spend Sunday in the back room of the pub drawing on the backside of leaflets that your friend’s dad fished out of the skip. Granddad bought his house with pennies skimmed from the slot machine takings and Dad killed the garden emptying out bottles of stolen wine[2]. Normal. Foiling robbers at the post office with a laugh, learning maths on the dartboard.

We were not miners, or union members – the noble working class – and neither were we destitute poor. Just poor enough for mum and dad to blame themselves rather than the system that was designed to keep them struggling throughout their childhoods and working lives. We always had good food to eat, always clean clothes to wear, always somewhere safe, warm and welcoming to come home to. We were not deprived. Fixer-upper, aspirational. Take a wall out to make it feel bigger, ornaments on everything. Dad’s stippling brushes climbing over every flat surface, and always a car because the kind of manual jobs he had were never within reach of public transport, not until he finished the boiler course and became caretaker at my high school. Mum was touch typing and night classes and always reading, curiosity as resistance tactic. Bank work, until she was told to sell loans to people like her who would almost certainly sink under the weight. She refused. Then it was disability support, helping people fight for their rights. Fierce compassion and whip smart. A family of artists who were shy about using that word, making gifts for friends, sometimes selling them, and more than anything escaping into books and nature and creativity; those were the safety nets I was taught to use, the ways to cope when you can’t. Look: a grey heron! We were bird watching by the river and landscapes leaning against every wall and early lessons in what I would now call feminism. Women like titans, men in painted jeans.  

One of the dominant myths underpinning our society’s collective mythology about working class community is that it is easily identified by location and a monocultural experience centred on a stereotypically masculine set of pursuits: the pub, the pit, the football. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, we still cling to definition by postcode. The experiences of some working class people start to stand in for all: phrases like ‘traditional’, like ‘sink estate’, phrases like ‘white working class’ become weapons lobbed in the name of defining authenticity.

The language used by those in power is one of moral and binary judgement: deserving and undeserving, legitimate and fraudulent.

Entire political movements are founded and propelled by this false division, neatly leveraging white supremacy as a way of cutting away every working class person of colour from the conversation, and every immigrant. Etonians play dress-up for the camera with pints of real ale and tell us white people who we are: we – the not-foreign – are the real ones, we are ‘from here’. Working class people are compressed into caricature as we are pitted against one another on national TV, in the mouths of politicians, in the writing that flows from publishing houses across the land – striver or shirker, choose a costume, ready in five. 

The dominant myth of the working class only recognises parts of my family’s life: the stolen wine, the unemployment. Strong women, maybe. Caretaker dad.  It erases others: the painting and the books. The activism that doesn’t call itself activism. The dominant myth of the working class does not allow these as part of the same reality. The dominant myth runs like a scalpel down a sheet of wallpaper, dividing everything into two lists of absurd reduction, one for the wall and one for the bin, cleaving art from us as something higher and more elite to which we can only ever aspire.

Art and literature created by working class people is so often framed as low value because our labour is deemed low value.

Our art and our writing is patronised with belittling titles (outsider, community artist) while a few individuals are ushered through in the name of meritocracy, of course: the Shelagh Delaney’s and Benjamin Zephaniah’s who, by being better than their middle and upper class peers, are finally deemed equal. It calls them exceptions, corners them off from their histories and communities like unprecedented oddities, like everything that came before was merely grist for the creative mill, an angle.3 

The dominant myth is a stripping of power, a summary that separates us from one another so that we are simple, and static. Something you can point to, something that simmers right down to this: know your place. One postcode, one flat, one face, one language, one accent, one. 

And as every working class person knows in their bones, there is danger in one. Isolation. That only works for rich people.

I was the one in my immediate family to finish high school not because I am smarter but because I was just luckier. Put that on the top of the CV. Timing and circumstance, the two things that will define a whole life. My parents and brother all had saw-toothed demons to outrun in their early teens, so they couldn’t stay still long enough to finish school, not if they wanted to survive it. This is not creative hyperbole. I know that I had chances they didn’t.

From a young age, my parents taught me that education was something that happened through a lifetime of wondering and curiosity, that it was one of life’s most meaningful and satisfying possessions. That it comes in different forms. And early on I learned that words are magic. Stories, songs. They can change things, sometimes, reflect the light at a certain time of the day, the things that are said between breaths in a too-loud room. They can tie together, apologise, shift the direction of an argument. Sometimes stories can fix things, if you’re lucky. Words can become home. I learned that young.

Unlike a lot of other working class and immigrant parents, when I was accepted into university mine made no attempt to push me into something sensible, for which I am still grateful. I moved away at seventeen and dove into stories, pretended. University was debt and eventual unravelling (something more to outrun) and because of it I graduated much later with a cheque at the comptroller’s office, exchanging paper with a woman who had a chain around her glasses and twenty minutes till her next break. My mum was upset that I had no ceremony.

After that I did what I knew how to do and I kept moving. A string of dead end jobs and medical crisis – move. Mould exploding from the walls – move. Heartbreak – move. Debt – move. Move. And move. The last one was to an ex-industrial village. Mostly two-up two-down terraces, extensions and a handful of new builds, and the mill owner’s house that gets rented out for historical films. It is the most economically mixed and by far the poshest place I’ve ever lived. Talking to a friend about it, she told me: ‘You must be worried that you’re gentrifying it.’

Let me stop here.

I am my father’s kid, knee-jerk and ready for a fight since I was six years old. First: my ego, with its anger and its hurt. I am my father’s kid, raging at pinched smiles and sour comments, bristling at posh voices.  I am not proud of this. It’s a reflex I have to fight.  Anger for breakfast, anger for tea. I thought anger was my backbone for thirty years at least, thought without it my spinal cord would snap and my body deflate, thought it was my strength. When my middle class artist friend breezily told me that I must be worried that I was helping to destroy working class community in my new home, I froze, and then got defensive.

It would be much later that I would manage to peel back my ego and my anger and see what lay beneath it: an injury that goes so much deeper than one conversation, and that connects to things much bigger than me.

Sociologist Ruth Glass first coined the term ‘gentrification’ in describing the changes she saw in social structure and housing in London’s inner city in the 60s[4], pointing to the emergence of a new ‘urban gentry’[5].

It has since become something of a trope in discussion of low-income housing and the gentrification of working class neighbourhoods: first come the artists, then the middle managers, then the developers, done.  This is the dominant story of gentrification in the UK, forged by Professor Phillip Clay’s four-stage model of gentrification6 and much of the discussion that has come since; art paves the way for money, and the poor move out. Working class communities are gutted with a combination of land development, property speculation, and ‘regeneration’, the often dubious process of compulsory purchase by which 100 terraced homes are replaced by 40 with double high ceilings and higher rents. It’s the artists who lay the ground for the arrival of the middle classes, so the story goes, lending an air of desirability to neglected low-income areas by seeking out cheap rent for their studios and homes.

It’s worth making note here of an adjacent but separate role that art sometimes plays in processes of gentrification: artwashing7. Artwashing as a term seems to have first been used publicly by activists in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, in 20168, as a way of describing the way that new galleries were turning the neighbourhood into a ‘luxury zone’ that in turn priced out and so forced out the long-term residents. In the few years since, it has also been used to describe the ways in which large companies use art sponsorship to improve their public image, lending an air of humanity and repair to the otherwise faceless megaliths known as corporations – for example, BP’s sponsorship of the Tate galleries in London. Researcher and artist Stephen Pritchard points to some of the ways in which art is often leveraged as a tool in service of developers and regeneration bodies9. There are many examples of corporate and bureaucratic artwashing, and sometimes they occur as part of the ongoing gentrification of a previously low-income area – but there is more to it still: evidence that the four-stage model might not be as precise as it claims to be, and that perhaps what may be being mistaken for artist-led gentrification is actually corporate-led gentrification with a side of artwashing. An important distinction.

A 2017 study looking at patterns of gentrification and arts industries in the 30 largest cities in the US10 found that, ‘while the presence of commercial arts establishments [which they define as film, music and design-related industries] increases the likelihood that a neighbourhood experiences gentrification, the fine arts do not. Furthermore, neither commercial arts nor fine arts are associated with displacement.’ The study showed that, rather than moving into low-income areas and thus sparking gentrification, many artists and arts businesses instead sought out already gentrified areas. The authors note that the highest concentration of arts establishments were found in places that were already wealthy and were becoming increasingly segregated by wealth – and this is the bit that particularly catches my eye: arts establishments.  It feels important to distinguish between establishment and individuals. Some artists are very much part of the fabric of arts establishments, whether that be galleries, theatres, the big festivals or venues in general, and we know that the arts as a whole are dominated by those on the higher ends of the socio-economic scales: white middle and upper class, with high levels of formal education at prestigious schools. With that privilege comes contacts, opportunities, endorsements, and, for some, the financial means to put in years of unpaid or low paid work as an emerging artist, kept afloat by family money. Often this is who will become most visible in the arts, most entwined in the establishments. Most visible in conversations about the role of art in gentrification.

When the story of gentrification gets told and retold as a story of gentrifying artists, it gets told in shorthand, and the nuance starts to leak out. The idea that working class community is a static monolith and that artists as a group are external to that seems obviously flawed, but it’s an idea that has become incredibly entrenched in our cultural and political imagination. When the story gets told and retold, classism papers over the cracks in the original narrative.

What is down there, beneath the concrete cap?

First, the surprisingly widespread belief that artists by definition are not working class; this one sticks like wood chip. At its heart is the conviction that art as a cultural practice is inherently middle and upper class, and therefore an artist either already is middle or upper class or becomes so via the cultural capital they accrue through their artistic practice. We so often hear art and literature discussed as inherently privileged activities that we have grown used to focusing mostly on privileged artists – a self-confirming circle of logic that erases working class artists and reinforces the idea that ‘real’ art belongs to and is created primarily by class-privileged people.

And, secondly, when the story of gentrification is told as a story of gentrifying artists, it asserts that the authentic working class community is static, rooted – implying that any new arrivals cannot be working class themselves. There are the incomers (not ‘from here’), and there are the still (‘from here’).  Movement is erased. Immigration is erased, and so immigrants with it. Stillness becomes coded as authenticity. This obscures the reality that many working class neighbourhoods that appear to be historically rooted in place are often in that particular place because of marginalisation and forced dispersal to begin with; working class people have always been subjected to states of flux when it comes to our homes – economically and politically shunted away from desirable land as a matter of routine and funnelled into council estates, overspills, industry-adjacent dwellings and new towns with a bus route and a single shop11. The long standing reality of working class migration and immigration is denied, and, in being defined as either/or, we are all reduced to binary. 

As working class artists and writers we are made invisible twice over. Spoken over. Asked to hold the coats. Even worse, it plays into xenophobic and racist political interests who wish to paint a narrow definition of legitimacy when it comes to working class identity: those who claim to stand for the marginalised when what they mean is they stand for the right-wing, English, and white.

Without a doubt, housing injustice and the systematic displacement that gentrification represents is a serious and ongoing threat to our many communities and the ability of working class and poor people (as well as the so-called underclass who are denied even the dubious capitalist dignity of the title ‘working’) to sustain themselves. It demands urgent attention and action. To lay primary responsibility at the feet of artists as a whole, however, is to misdirect attention from the guilty reality that, regardless of profession or vocation, it is middle and upper class people of means – artists included – who are spearheading the gentrification of low-income communities. Every time they buy-to-let, buy-to-flip, buy as investment, gentrification is helped along. Every time property developers build ‘affordable housing’ that starts at a quarter of a million pounds, gentrification is aided. Pension funds invest in property, councils sell every green space to the highest bidder. Money is the gentrifying force, and money is something that the vast majority of working class artists do not have.

The notion that working class artists are an outside force somehow responsible for gentrification in low income communities – using our creative work as the free market cudgel, presumably – is not only misguided but actively harmful to those for whom it claims to advocate.

As working class people we are not helped by having our creative legacies divorced from our communities, having our artistic languages and achievements hived off and reclassified as exceptional and therefore no longer representative of working class community, as if any one artist could ever represent a multi-dimensional community of millions, billions. Working class people are less likely to enter and then stay in the arts as a profession because as a field of work it favours the wealthy and connected in so many practical and structural ways, but working class people are no less likely to have the talent and skill and creative language that can form the foundation of an artistic practice. In fact, you could say that the ingenuity and tenacity that our lives often demand makes us especially suited to creative work of all kinds. There are multiple routes that we take into vocational art, and for most of us it is something we sustain alongside other forms of income and paid work including PAYE jobs, welfare benefits and pooled income across a household. (Off the top of my head I can name three working class artists I know personally whose practice is supported by their partners who make good money in building or warehousing.)  It seems incredible to me that I even need to say this. The idea that art itself is what opens the door to working class annihilation is nothing short of propaganda. 

In her essay ‘Working Class: An Escape Manual’12, Lisa McInerney says, ‘We’re encouraged to believe that there are few working-class artists, few working-class idealists. That creativity is the privilege of the rich because the rich have nothing else to do. So who’s more demeaned? Working-class people, or art itself?’

There was a time that I started to believe the idea that I had no right to claim my own history because I had moved around so much and then allegedly ‘jumped class’ with an undergraduate degree, no fixed community to claim as home. When disability arrived at my door as an adult and I could no longer perform my standard trifecta of rent-paying work – admin, retail, and cleaning – I called myself a writer and pretended it was brave choice rather than the stripping effect of illness and precarity. I saw how middle class people treated me better when they heard that word. ‘Oh, you’re a writer!?’ their voices lilting. Like it might not be a hobby. Like I might not be the help. I did what I know how to do and I ran, this time into my own interior, and all the while the two dominant stories of the authentic working class repeated around me on heavy rotation, ramping up as our political environment swung right: the noble hard-working poor, and fucking chavs. That word that falls like a thumbtack from the mouths of friends and strangers alike. I step on it, wince. That word that swallows half my family and the parts of me that I love. 

I know that I sometimes pass as middle class even to people who know otherwise because I practice things that are assumed to belong to them, like art, like literature. In order to be understood by those with more power, I’ve learned to speak the way that they speak, and so sometimes they forget, ask me to hold some of their guilt for them. And here it is: the language of us and them. I’m not proud of how quickly I reach for it. I struggle to find the words to talk about this without acknowledging the divide in those terms.

When the fire starts beneath the concrete cap of the landfill, it burns itself out and creates an empty vacuum that pulls on everything that sits above it. Perhaps I am angry at the conversation with my friend because it punctured my fear, the fear that I am indeed an agent of destruction, used by the market – as we all are used by the market – to steal resources and power from the hands of those with less and pass them into the cold hands of commerce. Complicity. It punctured my fear, and allowed it to spread: am I a class traitor? I see the bigotry radiating from that uniquely working class question. Like I began unlearning internalised homophobia and internalised sexism years before, I am now unlearning internalised classism, stripping back the ways in which I allow those with more power to cut us away from one another. 

Maybe because it was the most recent in a long line of small sharp ambushes from the mouths of middle class colleagues, that conversation opened something in me, something that understands why I struggle to maintain cross-class relationships, why I am less myself around those who come from significantly more material and social capital, why I am less trusting.

See the cracks in the plaster, trace a finger down the seam. I feel myself leaving my body as I wait for what has happened so many times before: for a middle class person to tell me who I am and then, when I protest, for the silence.

It has been other working class people who have called me home, now, as an adult. Who have gently taken my hand or put me in an affectionate head lock and said listen, I see you. That moment of recognition a thunderclap, a sudden storm that washes the tarmac clean and sends streams of life out into hard ground. They show me how broad we are, how intricate and powerful and luminous we are when we are both the speaker and the spoken about. Too big for our boots, ideas above our station, we are bold and brash and unapologetic and intellectual and creative and messy and perfect and here: multiple, and refusing to know our place.

Other working class people call me home, and they show me what I knew and forgot, what I come back to to warm myself against, to draw from and to cherish: our artistic histories, our creative inheritance. Our art.

The writer development organisation Commonword celebrated their fortieth anniversary a few years back, and as part of that they are working to make their archive available to the public. Even a brief search quickly reveals a vast landscape of working class lives and cultures, of migration and movement. Very early on I find a statement of intent in the Voices poetry pamphlet, 197713. After asking ‘what is working class writing?’ Rick Gwilt says,

‘…a positive British working class cultural identity, which is neither obscured by the mass media’s “cult of the common man”, nor based on being not-foreign or not-black or not-female.’

Before Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw’s term ‘intersectionality’14 became common usage, its spirit and its being was lived and understood by those with many homes, many names, many strategies for navigating a world that is built for the few. It was vividly expressed in the A5 saddle stitched pamphlets, as it was elsewhere, in Commonword’s work – not just an understanding but a centring and honouring of the multiple points of identity and experience that define working class community and art – immigrant and skint and canny and queer, all of us who are not ‘from here.’

The archive plots movement through a multitude of economic, social, cultural and emotional spaces –  a Ghanaian merchant ship, freezing bedsits, gay squats, cosy bungalows – the chains swinging from the giant cranes in the container depot in our backyard – strange little rooms, cream and green like a hospital or a nick, no windows – high rises and high rises and high rises – three years in a margarine factory – when we were unloaded / I could hardly walk / the air / tasted so fresh, so bitter, sweet – purr of the dairy truck – crosses on a map – and soon she would reach the corner, turn her face to the sodium embrace of the dock road – and not look back.

It comes to me then: that sense of rootedness, the home that expresses itself through stories and poetry as an act of committed and fierce love. Not as simplistic salt-of-the-earth hagiography or the bland neoliberalism of ‘love wins,’ slogan of the well-to-do gays, but love as justice, love as reckoning. Love with red teeth and wild strong eyes, a bear’s shoulders, the back of an entire continental plate. Love as protector, as comfort, as a cleaning out of wounds. Love hot enough to burn out the rot and then treat the damage beneath it. Love for breakfast, love for tea.

I read the archive as a document of love as a verb, love that assumes accountability and responsibility, love not as feeling but as action.

And as the great writer and theorist bell hooks has said, there can be no love without justice.15

As long as working class communities – all of them – are denied our complexities and nuance, our broad family of multiple experiences, working class art is denied. 

In this context, reaching through anger to love, what does justice look like? For an individual, for a community, a people? How would it behave in the old-growth ecosystem that makes up plural working class cultures? I see it as no accident that while we are kept away from fully inhabiting our cultural homes – our art, our literature – many of us are simultaneously kept away from fully inhabiting our material and our geographic homes, and with that, our sense of security, our ability to count home as a stable base.

The fire starts under the concrete cap of the landfill, pulls on everything that sits above it, and we know that the only direction it will go is down. And so we move, seek home, again. We reach for our centre, for the thing that will save us, the thing that has always saved us – one another, our stories, and our art.

About the Writer

Mish Green is a UK-based writer and artist. Their debut collection of short stories – Jebel Marra (Comma Press, 2015) – was nominated for a number of national and international awards, and described by the Irish Times as ‘exceptional – fifteen shards of shrapnel that will take your head off.’ Their novella about Manchester’s housing crisis will be out with Comma in 2023, and they are now working on a new collection: a map of short stories based on Hayling Island. They previously published under the name Michelle Green.



[1] Allison, Dorothy, ‘A Question of Class’, History Is A Weapon <https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/skinall.html> (accessed 8th June 2022)

[2] He wants you to know that it was not him who stole them, and that the vintage wine was very nice.

[3] Check out Mikki Kendall’s excellent Hood Feminism for more on this: ‘There’s a myth of exceptionalism attached to people who succeed academically after a childhood in poverty…a comforting idea to some that aspiring to a place at the table comes at a cost, that success for marginalised people means leaving behind their culture and community because it isn’t good enough to get them where they want to go.’ (Bloomsbury, 2020)

[4] Glass, Ruth, London: aspects of change, University College, London, Centre for Urban Studies (MacGibbon & Kee, 1964) – Glass coined the term ‘gentrification’ in the introduction to this book

[5] Hamnett, Chris, ‘Gentrification and the Middle-class Remaking of Inner London, 1961-2001’, Urban Studies, Vol 40, no 12, 2003

[6] See Matter News for a brief description of Clay’s influential four-stage model of gentrification (as defined in his 1979 book Neighbourhood Renewal: middle-class resettlement and incumbent upgrading in American neighbourhoods) : https://matternews.org/gentrification-explained/ (accessed 8th June 2022)

[7] Check out Stephen Pritchard’s passionate exploration of artwashing in London here: https://colouringinculture.org/uncategorized/artwashingsocialcapitalantigentrification/ (accessed 8th June 2022)

[8] http://www.laweekly.com/boyle-heights-activists-demand-that-all-art-galleries-get-the-hell-out-of-their-neighborhood/ (accessed 8th June 2022)

[9] Pritchard – ibid

10 Grodach, Foster, and Murdoch. ‘Gentrification, displacement and the arts: Untangling the relationship between arts industries and place change’, Urban Studies Journal, Vol 55, Issue 4, 2018. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/69701/1/blogs.lse.ac.uk-Arts%20industries%20do%20not%20cause%20gentrification-%20they%20tend%20to%20chase%20it.pdf (accessed 8th June 2022)

11 Read playwright and poet Jackie Hagan’s work for snatches of Skelmersdale, built back when for what was then called the ‘overspill’ population of Merseyside – mostly the young and poor. https://www.nickhernbooks.co.uk/jackie-hagan (accessed 8th June 2022)

12 McInerney, Lisa, ‘Working Class: an escape manual’, Common People (ed. Kit De Waal, Unbound, 2019)

13 Gwilt, Rick, ‘Editorial’, Voices 15 (Autumn 1977) < http://www.mancvoices.co.uk/issue_15.htm> (accessed 8th June 2022)

14 Crenshaw, Kimberlé, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, vol. 1989, Issue 1, Article 8

[15] “Without an ethic of love shaping the direction of our political vision and our radical aspirations, we are often seduced, in one way or the other, into continued allegiance to systems of domination—imperialism, sexism, racism, classism.” hooks, bell, All About Love (HarperCollins, 2001)