Journeys & Destinations:
Self Managed Research into the City of Nottingham
After meeting my group (Group 12) of colleagues for the first time on Wednesday 3rd October, I was excited to be exploring the city in which I had spent 3 years of my life living in again amongst a group that have only recently arrived here. Having just moved back home to Birmingham following the completion of my bachelors’ degree in Nottingham my own sense of ‘home’ had become distorted again. I had never moved back home over any of the summers, so Nottingham really did, only briefly, become home. As I am now commuting to and from Nottingham the distorted nature familiarity is attacking me on both fronts.
My group consisted of people who have come from the Far East though many are well travelled and have been to various countries within Europe. This presented us with both mutual ground to relate. All of us had been detached from our comfort of our homes, albeit a further distance than I had myself.
We settled on meeting at the Photographer’s Hub. This was pleasing as I had never been before, meaning we would all be sharing a new experience together. Whilst waiting for others to arrive, I noticed that the street directly opposite the entrance was called East Street. I felt it was very fitting and quite a coincidence and added to the narrative of the moment, although my colleagues didn’t quite grasp what I meant, well at least to my face they didn’t. Once all the members of group 12 arrived we went on up to the Photographer’s Hub. No one answered the buzzer so we could get through the security door. Thankfully a lady from another unit within the building let us through. Unfortunately the Photographer’s Hub was shut. Now usually in this situation I would of left, but my colleagues didn’t give up as readily as I did and continued to look around and poke their noses into other studios. Which was interesting as we got to see other creative’s at work.
Following this we walked through Lace Market to the Nottingham Contemporary in the hope that they were not in a change over period between exhibitions. So you can imagine our disappointment when they were. After a quick look around the shop and parts of the show being put up, we moved onto the current shop of Paul Smith.
In my three years living in Nottingham I had never been in there. Now my colleagues had changed from their inquisitive enthusiasm in the previous locations to delight. It was an intrinsic response. What surprised me was as a native I felt less about the brand that’s thought of so highly here than the people from thousands of miles away. In the store I felt very intimidated by its presentation and price however aesthetically appealing the clothes were. This is not to say I have anymore right to enjoy the brand more than my colleagues or to say that I am an inverted snob. It just didn’t appeal to me in the same way as my international friends; this could easily be explained by the fact they are all taking a fashion or fashion related master degrees. This experience caused me to realise culture is not contained or defined by international boarders or language barriers.
Near the start I drew on the fact we had coincidently started opposite East Street. I drew on that comparison, as I was aware of my colleagues in my presence, in what I felt was my context. I’m sure they, though in my presence, did not see the point of the comparison. They were seeing me in the same context that they were seeing themselves. Frank Abbott said something in his opening lecture that I now understand that context to be. It is something that I never really accepted before, and something that will change - on huge proportions - the way I shape my future.
‘You are now an international student.’