Soft Borders

by Sophie Mallett




This publication is centred on Margate, and especially the area of Cliftonville, between the years 2016-2017, but it draws on concurrent and past histories from other towns and cities, both in the UK and abroad. It is one of a series of “unspectacular outcomes” generated by the artist Sophie Mallett at the culmination of a residency at Resort Studios, Cliftonville, undertaken during the above period. Mallett was asked to reflect upon the changes underway in Margate and Cliftonville, question how art practice can challenge or steer regeneration, and in the process interrogate the role of Resort Studios within the narratives of community, regeneration and gentrification. Much of Mallett’s work looks at ideas of belonging and exclusion, the interior and exterior, and the liminal states that exist between them. Margate presented a challenge; a complex, entangled, compartmentalised entity full of discordant voices and shot through with “arts projects”. Mallett soon rejected the notion that an “outcome” “about” “gentrification” was necessary, or even possible.

Soft Borders charts national and international debates around community, space, intimacy, design and political agency. It proposes practical strategies of resistance in
contexts where art has been instrumentalised within a trajectory of property development under a narrative of “regeneration”.