Seven: “There is no local here, love”

“There is no local here, love” said our research participant. It was absent here, because, there were no local shops (except Tescos), the last remaining pub had closed down and the community centre had to charge for its activities in order to remain solvent. While society might bristle at the singularity of the description of "the local", in our research found participants referring to “the local” over and over again. In this sense the local, the keystone concept of localism, was confirmed when interrogated through arts-based methods. Of course, research is consistently illustrating that localism is geographically, socially and politically uneven. This chapter, however, goes further to illustrate that the very existence of “the local” is also uneven. Being local is not a private activity: it is one that is performed in spaces that are to some extent public. Without space in which to meet, there is no local.

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