Let’s Move to Worthing?

Worthing Council Teville Gate plans

On the ‘Coastal Identities’ page we’re thinking about the English seaside and whiteness. There’s plenty of incomers here in our town, but the ones we see represented most often are the ones who’ve chosen to come (like WoBy) for quality of life reasons. (We’ve not been put here by a local authority, we didn’t come fleeing war or destitution).

The ‘Let’s Move to Worthing’ movement goes back at least ten years. Here’s local hero nuevo Dad La Soul on some of the reasons why his family came over; his post pinpoints many of the things that we hear from Brighton and London incomers.

While cool dad may have abandoned Brighton-Hove in part (he tells us) because he was fed up with tripping over yummy-mummies at every corner, we do have plenty of our own seafront-walking, start-up talking, mums in Worthing. Let’s not knock them: they’re bringing in good stuff like cinammon buns and their antidote, fat metaboliser. (I realise that the last sentence is kind of a haiku meta-commentary on the contradictions within white femininity – I swear that was unintentional).

The Worthing Mums‘ blog, with it’s listings and short pieces, gives us a bit more of a sense of those changes happening here, including one woman’s personal account of her journey from Brighton. Like the best personal writing, its story is totemic.

If you feel you already know cool dad and start-up mum, you might enjoy the highly particular twist on the incomer story coming from an expat mum who was based here, and who blogged about the things you have to learn when you are ‘Bringing up Brits’.

Peterson’s blog became a network and a book

Now, if we can also begin to gather in the stories of some of the other incomers, and if we can stop and reflect a bit on how we engage with gentrification (come on, let’s not shy away from the G-word), it’ll do us all a power of good. Mindful incoming, anyone?

Here, the Teville Gate development has several other poignant stories to it: the disappearance of Georgina Gharsallah (and the posters appealing for witnesses to her disappearance) would be one of those stories.

Georgina Gharsallah, missing

While I’ve got a PhD in anthropology, I’m bored with being part of scholarly debates on ethnicity, class, sex-gender and migration which don’t make it past an academic journal (or, at best, the Guardian newspaper) in terms of public engagement. So I’ll keep listening and thinking and trying to write about all this in ways that are meaningful. Keep reading.

Oh – and let me know when I miss the mark, so I can think again.