The Parkes Institute is very pleased to have published this lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed book in which Tony Kushner explores how migrants have shaped both the history of Southampton and the present city.
The book incorporates poetry, art, and testimony, including contributions from those of many different migrant backgrounds and ages exploring especially the importance of the 'everyday'. It also includes walking tours of the old city, reinterpreting old buildings and heritage sites through the prism of migration, as well as the historic cemetery. It provides a rich and multi-layered study of this fascinating port city.
The introduction to the book explores how Southampton remembers, forgets and represents migration. It then has four sections with the themes 'A Sense of Belonging'; 'History'; 'Past into Present'; and 'Southampton Today'. Each of these contains four interventions ranging from autobiographical writing to artwork from Joan McGavin, Nazneen Ahmed, Philip Hoare, Hawa Sanneh, Jasmine Crook, Tamar Hodes, Tony Kushner, Martin de Retuerto, Manju Chopra, Rebecca Smith, Natalia Kochanska, Andrea Cantello and Abdourahman Sennah. There is an extended walking tour with detailed histories covering thirteen sites in the old city and dock areas of Southampton and three sites in the old cemetery, plus guides to two international refugee sites outside the city itself – Atlantic Park Hostel from the 1920s at what is now Southampton International Airport and the Basque refugee camp in South Stoneham in 1937.
The conclusion of the book is an extended and illustrated essay on public spaces in Southampton as sites of inclusion and exclusion.
'This luminous book is woven together like a beautifully presented tapestry. It is a great example of how intellectual rigour and knowledge can genuinely serve a people's history'.
Mark Levene, Honorary Fellow, Parkes Institute.
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