Primary Research

For this project I have conducted some primary research to help me, firstly, I have spoken to some of the people that were actually in the Chinatown when I was. I was originally going to use this as part of my final piece, including a portrait of them and either a quote or a sound recording, however the public wasn’t as willing to participate as I originally thought they would be. I was however able to talk to some and these are some of the quotes that I got:

‘I have recently moved to London, I don’t live in the Chinatown itself but love it here, there is the perfect mixture of culture and everything else. Girls love shopping, London is shopping paradise, who wouldn’t love it?’

‘I have lived here for many years, my shop is very important to me, it is my whole income, funded by locals and tourists as well. My special place is my shop, I am very proud to own it.’

‘This is the first time we have visited a Chinatown, I guess you could class us as tourists, the vibrant colours here draw us in and all the food smells amazing.’

‘It’s like a home away from home, it just feels right, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have the best of both worlds here.’

‘I miss home, but this is the next best thing.’

‘Having a Chinatown in London brings some culture to the city, it’s interesting to see the differences between the main city and here.’

‘I have visited several Chinatowns, they are all very similar and it is hard to see any difference. They all have the arcs and stereotypical colours of red and green. A big draw for me is the smell of the food!’

‘The food is amazing here, it really is the best Chinese food around, wouldn’t go anywhere else when looking for Chinese food, there are so many options here, you can smell it as soon as you come around the corner!’

If I had more time to complete this project I probably would revisit this idea to try to make it more successful, when approaching people with the camera or sound equipment visible they got very shy and unwilling to talk to me. The conversations that worked best were when I had just walked up to them and was generally interested in their life and where they live etc. If I had more time I would of considered this and been able to get to know some of the shop owners on a more personal level, I think this would of allowed me to get more of the product that I wanted to. Although this didn’t work I still think that the final piece that I am producing is strong, and this wouldn’t of necessarily made my work any better, but may have enhanced it and added something a bit different.

When this didn’t work as well I decided to email the council of the cities that have a Chinatown to get some more information and statistic if possible. Here is the email that I sent, I am still waiting for a reply:

I am doing a project on Chinatowns and the communities within them, I have visited several times, the first time being this year for my project. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me to help with my research?
Have you got any helpful statistics about your Chinatown?
How long has the Chinatown been in …. ?
Are the borders of the Chinatown obvious or does it slowly creep in?
Maybe about population: ages, cultures, tourism? Or what is the ratio of shops:restaurants?
Do the businesses run mainly on local business or tourist?
The size of your Chinatown?
What Chinese traditions do you celebrate such as the Chinese new year?
Are there many residents living in the Chinatown itself?
Are there many houses within the Chinatown itself?
In comparison to other Chinatowns do you know of many differences?
Are there any misconceptions/interpretations of Chinatowns that you are aware of? Such as other cultures.
Don’t feel pressured to answer all/any of these questions but any information you can give me will be appreciated and helpful.
Thank you for your time,
Bethany Crisp​