The Welcoming Culture and Diversity of Camden in London
Before visiting London, I was excited to visit the different parts of the city since I knew they all had things that made each area unique and special. Throughout my time in London, I visited different neighborhoods and one that I frequented often was Camden. Camden was the most unique and creative neighborhood I came across, in my opinion. It had a life of its own beyond other neighborhoods I explored, as it was so welcoming to different people and it’s the place where many different artists started their artistic journeys. I quite enjoyed visiting Camden Market as it’s vast in what it offered. Not only were there many clothing and food stalls, but they were also all unique in their own niche ways.
Enjoying all Camden offers!
Cultural Experiences in Camden
The Mac Factory
One of my favorite food places to visit was The Mac Factory. I frequently visited this place with my friends as it was one of the best places to get mac and cheese. There, each type of mac and cheese had a twist to it with its various ingredients. This place shows just how much Camden influences businesses to bring their own creations to a specific place and give them a platform to take off and share what they create with everyone.
Some of the delicious food I tried in Camden.
Another place my friends and I frequented was Funky Chips. This place also had a unique twist to it as it offered chips prepared in unusual ways that tasted amazing. We usually got the masala chips as they were very famous and spicy.
Another iconic Camden spot was the market. This was one of my favorite parts in all of Camden as there aren't many markets back in Arizona where I’m from. I enjoyed strolling around it as most of the shops offered unique styles of clothing I haven't seen anywhere else. Most of the clothes offered in the shops were vintage items that were tailored into a completely different style. The market also had a very colorful aspect to it with its decoration, along with graffiti in some sections, which further highlighted the creativity that Camden culture is all about.
Exploring Camden Market.
Very close to Camden Market is an area called Primrose Hill. This hill is one of the nicest ones in London as it gives you a fantastic view of the city. I enjoyed walking from the market with my food to Primrose Hill to enjoy the beautiful view. This walk is also worth it as you travel through a neighborhood in which the houses are painted in colorful pastel colors.
The view from Primrose Hill.
Diversity in Camden
Spending time in Camden made my semester abroad in London very special as it truly showed me how this part of the city gives a platform for people to be creative as well as to develop that creativity, which I don’t really experience as much in Arizona. Arizona is a place in which some of the population is predominantly Caucasian and has a suburban lifestyle in which not a lot of diversity can be seen or celebrated, in my experience. In Camden you'd see people from different ethnicities and lifestyles around the area. In my experience, everyone's identities are accepted in Camden no matter what it is, as diversity is celebrated and encouraged. I noticed this in the types of people I saw walking around Camden without being criticized or shamed for who they are. In Arizona, you may not see what is reflected in Camden. People there can be very conservative, and marginalized identities can be shamed by those who are in the majority, making it hard for them to be their authentic selves and show who they really are. This difference allowed me to truly express myself whenever I went to Camden without overthinking what the people around me would think.
This also related more broadly to the culture I experienced in Camden in comparison to what I’ve experienced in Arizona. For me, the culture in Camden emphasizes diversity and celebrating people’s differences. In general, Arizona has a very conservative culture which from my perspective doesn’t really allow diversity to flourish amongst the people that live in it.
I felt very welcomed in Camden as there are many people living there from different parts of the world with distinct interests who come together and share them. It offered different activities and experiences that allowed me to develop new interests and traits that I wouldn’t have otherwise developed had I never gone to this area. It also taught me that I can truly be whoever I want to be in London and be welcomed for it.
Mariela Jacinto is a CEA CAPA alum and Diversity Advocates Scholar for Spring 2023. A Psychology major at Arizona State University, she studied abroad in London.
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