Lily Tibbitts’ Student Life

Posted on 04th April 2024 | in Blogs , Community , Young People’s Activities

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of cities. There’s too much noise, too many people who you don’t know, not enough beaches and fields and hills. Newcastle is a bit of an exception: it’s full of Geordies so there’s still plenty of small-town-esque friendliness, and being at university means I see a lot of the same faces, so it does feel like there’s a bit of a community.

However, at the moment I’m doing some lectures for my literature course all about books and films set in small towns – specifically small northern towns. I was excited to get to discuss something so (very literally) close to home, especially when we were told that the texts might challenge our preconceptions of people who live in these places, but instead what we got was stereotype after stereotype.

The characters were shown as backwards and unintelligent compared to the progressive city characters, and even when they were presented empathetically it was all underpinned with the idea that they must be jealous of city living. What’s worse is that, when discussing it with my classmates, lots of them seemed to think this really was a progressive view of small-town life. I can only imagine they were expecting to see a medieval peasant village.

It’s frustrating that people still have these ideas about what small town people are like, but if they haven’t been to many northern villages and all they know are these terrible books and movies then I almost can’t blame them. Hopefully they’ll get to visit a small town and see for themselves how great the people are, but if not, at least we get to keep our Northumberland status as the UK’s best kept secret!


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