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Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity

The Little Book of Answers

The Little Book of Answers was designed to interrogate the nature of citizenship acquisition in the UK and explore the official narrative about what it means to be British.

Group of colleagues listening to a presentation

The project was created by artist Laura Malacart  who compiled the book using the answers to the UK citizenship test. Passing the test is a compulsory requirement for people applying for naturalisation or ‘indefinite leave to remain' in the UK. In this sense, its content is the official narrative according to which the government choses to represent Britain.

Printed in black and white and organised alphabetically, The Little Book of Answers appears as a hybrid between a collection of data, concrete poetry and a musical score. Here the Answers appear in isolation and the questions from which they are divorced are only occasionally guessable.

The Little Book of Answers is also used by Laura Malacart as a score, script or device in participatory and collaborative performances to initiate conversations and raise questions around issues of inclusion, language, identity and immigration.

Two participatory performances have been developed in collaboration with Bridget Byrne who has written on citizenship ceremonies.

Manchester Central Library exhibition

The project was brought to Manchester Central Library in July 2016.

The library was the site for installation interventions by Laura Malacart; a discussion with Bridget Byrne (CoDE) and Anne-Marie Fortier (University of Lancaster) and Kevin Bolton (Central Library). There was a live performance where invited artists performed responses to The Little Book of Answers.

These included the Manchester-based spoken word group Young Identity, writer and poet Hilary Plews, musician Naomi Graham, singer Guicin Bulut and story teller Ellada Titani.