DT interviewed Dr Mark Panton about his and Amanda Lillywhite’s book, Tottenham’s Trojan Horse, which explores the use of sports stadiums in regeneration and the impact it might have on an area. The illustrations and bite sized explanations makes the story accessible to all. Let us know your thoughts on the Spurs development in the comments.
What gave you the idea to research Tottenham and the plans to redevelop the stadium and surrounding area?
I became interested in the use of sports stadiums in regeneration after doing research on it for an MSc in sport management at Birkbeck, University of London. This led on to my PhD thesis How do stakeholders influence stadium-led regeneration? The story from East Manchester and Tottenham.
Amanda helped edit my PhD thesis and out of our discussions grew the idea for a book, Tottenham’s Trojan Horse?, which would focus on the communities affected by proposed regeneration linked to the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, in particular the fans’ walkway in High Road West. We wanted to show how proposals of this kind affect real people and to make the information accessible to a broad audience. The best way to do this, we felt, was in a comic format using dialogue from interviews and research.
A grant from Birkbeck BEI, University of London, helped make the book possible and they recently gave us a public engagement award for it.
What were each of your roles in the project?
We discussed interviews, transcripts from meetings and a lot of secondary documentation from my original research, selecting relevant material and gradually shaping it into a story line. Amanda developed the design of the book during this process and then went on to illustrate the pages.
Why did you feel it was important to supply local people with information about what has been going on?
Our main motivation for creating the book was to make what is going on in Tottenham known to a wider audience and that included local people who may not have been aware of some of the issues over the last eight years.
Our Tottenham are featured quite heavily in the book – were they involved in helping you to research some of the information?
I attended Our Tottenham and other community group meetings and events as part of my research. Dave Morris and Martin Ball from Our Tottenham also helped fact check early drafts of the book.
Did you discover anything you weren’t expecting?
During my research I was surprised by the unwillingness of Spurs’ representatives to be interviewed.
We didn’t expect the level of interest we’ve had in the book. It has gone to a number of countries around the world and to a wide range of people. Our first print run is disappearing fast and we will have to reprint the book soon.
You can find more information, including upcoming events related to the book, on their blog TottenhamsTrojanHorse.blogspot.co.uk