Beauty Contest for British Bulldogs? Negotiating (Trans)national identities in Suburban Melbourne

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Sara Wills
Kate Darian-Smith


Notwithstanding the absence of bulldogs, Britfest with its re-creation and representation of Britishness provides an entry point for investigating the complex meanings within the transitional narratives of migrancy, ethnicity and ‘belonging’ among British migrants in modern Australia. The identification and promotion of Britishness at this event reflects recent trends in the re-imagining of that Britishness, which has also become the focus of popular and scholarly debate. In much of this debate, events such as Britfest are seen as representative of a newly emergent sense of identity among British migrants—as an organic reawakening of community pride, nationhood and sense of (an often privileged) place in Australia.

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Author Biographies

Sara Wills, University of Melbourne

SARA WILLS is an ARC postdoctoral research fellow and lecturer at the Australian Centre, University of Melbourne, and a research associate with Museum Victoria. Her work explores experiences of British migrants in Australia since the Second World War, but she is also interested more generally in processes of ‘re-placing’ community and identity, as well as in histories and theories of migrancy.

Kate Darian-Smith, University of Melbourne

KATE DARIAN-SMITH is Director of the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne. She also teaches in the Department of History and is the Assistant Dean (Study Abroad and Exchange Programs). With interests in Australian cultural and social history, particularly in the twentieth century, she is currently writing a social and cultural history of agricultural shows in Australia.