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A Response To ‘Gentrification By Instagram’

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In response to Bristol 24/7 and Thomas Oxley: ‘Gentrification by Instagram’

First of all I should say to those that do not know me; I was part of the @igersBristol team for two years, so this article really was aimed at a lot of my friends and peers.

The reason this article will not be impartial isn’t because of my ties to those involved, but because it is a grossly unfair opinion piece with unfounded accusations, and it’s seemingly based on fuck all else but a desire to be controversial.

I really do love Bristol and the diversity of its people, their passions and their beliefs. What I’ll never stand for is someone telling anybody what they should, or should not create, capture, or share.

Bristol is a city that built a reputation on its creativity, and a community that supports each other. There is no room here for crab mentality, or negativity towards any other person’s craft.

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Happy Easter, gang! 🐣🍫 Hope you’ve all had a lovely day. So. Bet many of you can’t name this viewpoint… Having grown up around BS4 I recognise it as the beautiful view of the city from the railway bridge on Langton Court Rd, St.Annes. A woefully under-photographed area/scene! Get snapping, eastside folk! 📷 We held a brilliant Instameet around this area last summer which lots of you attended, and we made sure this view was part of it. It’s a good ‘un. 👍🏻 • Big thanks to @the_unarmed_shooter for tagging us in this shot! Enjoy the rest of your evening & we’ll be back tomorrow. 👋🏻 PS More Instameets to be announced this week! @porthjess 🌈 #igersbristol

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I understand that most people don’t live in the pretty, colourful Bristol we see on Instagram and in the wider press. It’s not all ‘Sunday Times Best Place to Live’ shite, where you walk your kids to school without swearing at them, past colourful houses, through the park or along the river.

I understand this because I grew up on a council estate in East Bristol. I believe most of us had tough upbringings in a city that is rife with drug use, poverty, inequality and racial tension.

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🎉 INSTAMEET NEWS! 🎉 • As part of our #igersloveGloucesterRoad campaign, we are hosting an Instameet in two weeks time! ———————————————– 📅 Saturday 25th February. • 🌍 – Brunswick Square, St. Paul’s. • ⏰ 13:00-16:00. ———————————————– We’re going to be weaving up Cheltenham/Gloucester Road, taking in some of Bristol’s most vibrant communities, including Montpellier, Bishopston, St. Andrews and Ashley Down. We’ll try and navigate via some great pieces of graffiti, lovely green spaces and stunning terraces! 🙌🏼 • If you haven’t really explored Gloucester Road before, this will be a great opportunity to acquaint yourself with the surrounding areas. If you love Gloucester Road, well then I don’t need to encourage you. 😅 • England aren’t playing in the Six Nations that day so I don’t want any excuses. 🤓🏉 ———————————————– Photo by our very own @richimal_bristol! ———————————————– Shared by @antimitch! 🤙🏼

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The mixed views of Bristol held by many, shouldn’t be grounds to curse those that choose to focus on either the good or the bad. If you want to “Make Bristol Shit Again”, crack on.

If you want to campaign and protest the injustices people in this city face, from the homeless, the refugees, the poor, the ethnic minorities. Please, please do.

Or if you’d prefer to shine a bright light onto the things that make Bristol such a fantastic city to live in, as many people do extremely well, then have a fucking field day as there’s lots to shout about.

@IGersBristol is a community of people that do the latter out of pure passion, immense pride and an unwavering attachment to Bristol. Building friendships, educating, and broadening minds along the way. To question the integrity of people you’ve never met is a lamentable act, for which you are being rightfully admonished.

I’m focusing on @IGersBristol, I’ll reiterate not because of personal bias, because in my opinion, they are the inspiration for a large amount of feature accounts in Bristol. The foundation of the account, community and hashtag is to shout about what you love, to share your Bristol.

A lot of folk’s favourite part of Bristol is indeed the floating harbour, not Withywood nor Knowle. Although, if you look a little deeper you’ll see there are plenty of other Instagrammers who strive to document the “real Bristol” that is claimed to be missing from social media.

You’d also have seen the meets and events arranged across BS1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 and beyond. Events that took us way beyond “the square mile from the Suspension Bridge to the Arnolfini and from the Create Centre to the top of Park Street.”

I respect opinion pieces, and the conversations we have every day on social media and in the press, but myself and my peers cannot stand by in light of such vitriol.

Bristol’s “gentrifying” Instagram community have made it clear that no amount of hatred will stop us doing what we do, because we love it, and we love our home. Why don’t you join in sometime, Thomas? Everyone is welcome.

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Head of Content / Cider Correspondent. Born and bred in East-Bristol, Mitch aka @antimitch is a freelance photographer and cultivates social media accounts with finesse, which is why you’ll find him in charge of Best of Bristol’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Mitch is a keen plant-based foodie, so provide him with cider and snacks for a friendly service.

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