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Message posted on 06/11/2018

In Arcadia: the British in France

Exhibition of photographs In Arcadia: the British in France by Terence

12-14 November 2018. Visual Research Conference, Society for Visual
Anthropology (SVA), Hammer

Theater Center, San Jose, California, USA.

the Arcadians are not so much warned of an implacable future as they are
immersed in mellow meditation of a beautiful past. Erwin Panofsky

It is estimated that there are over 150,000 British people living in France.
While the majority live in Paris, others are widely distributed across the
hexagon. In comparison to other British ex-pats in European locations (e.g.
the costal resorts of Spain), those settled in France express less of a desire
to establish a Little England (English pubs, fish & chip venues, etc.) and
more of a tendency to learn the French language and integrate with the local

There are a number of reasons why people have decided to migrate: economic
migration, lifestyle migration, education, arts and culture or the search for
a warmer climate. While some have seen their move as expedient from a
practical point of view, others have taken a more romantic approach, seeing
France as offering something of a rural idyll. Some express a yearning for an
imagined past: Its how England used to be 30 years ago. However this vision
of Arcadia is now under the threat of Brexit, leaving British citizens
entirely in the dark over their future status.

The photographs on exhibition are portraits of British citizens currently
living in the Vienne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in western
France. The images concentrate on people, their houses and the small
environments that the British have shaped for themselves: the buildings they
have chosen to make their dwellings and the subsequent modifications they have


Terence Wright PhD

Emeritus Professor of Visual Arts

Belfast School of Art

Ulster University

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