I have decided to explore how the street art of Brick Lane is playing a role in the current regeneration/gentrification occurring in the area at this point in time.
Living in the area, I have become well acquainted with the infamous street and have found myself noticing a change that is taking place. Nestled in between Bangladeshi curry houses are artisan coffee shops, and next to the Indian fabric store, a trendy vintage store. Although these incongruities may seem small now, it is important to remember that Brick Lane has had many identities in it’s past in correspondence with the influx of particular social/historical groups (mainly immigrants). The change that I am beginning to see now, was most catalysed in the early 2000s, when the likes of Young British Artists (Tracey Emin and the Chapman Brothers) moved into the area. To me, it seems to be the case with many up and coming areas that, when artists move in to cheap accommodation/studio spaces, they instantly give the area a cool, bohemian vibe- attracting swathes of hip youth, craft breweries, and one-off boutiques.
An example of the cafes popping up on Brick Lane “Fairtrade” “Organic” “gluten-free” all indicate a certain clientele
I wish to look at if and to what extent, the areas artistic community is slowly turning ‘Banglatown’ in one of the trendiest areas to be in London through the cultural phenomena of gentrification. I intend to look at a number of different sources in order to investigate this, including lecturer and writer Sarah Brouillette’s ‘Literature and Gentrification on Brick Lane’ which was published in the Summer 2009 edition of the Scholarly journal ‘Criticism’. In this essay, Bouillette (2009) not only looks at how the artistic community has influenced Brick Lane’s redevelopment, but also media sources too. I will also be looking at an article written by Sam Knight on October 19, 2014, for the New York Times Magazine called ‘Fournier Street’. In this article he looks at the artists living around the Brick Lane area, and to what extent they have contributed to the gentrification of the street.