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The Expatriate is not a Migrant, and certainly not an Immigrant

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

by Megan Daly

The Expatriate is not a Migrant, and certainly not an Immigrant.

As-salāmuʿalaykum, hen.

Where’s that accent from?

Ya ‘iilhi!


Bloody Jocks, never happy.

If you want istiqlal so much,

you can start by fucking off,



The expatriate is not a migrant, and certainly not an immigrant.

The property guardian is not a transient or vulnerably housed, this is bohemian living.

There is no such thing as not belonging, we are all global citizens.

If you feel differently, that is your fault, not ours.


Fly-posted across her London home, Jill Kennedy-McNeill's piece The Expatriate is not a Migrant, and certainly not an Immigrant uses poetry to dissect accent and language and to express what she describes as her 'tangled interpretation' of belonging. Born and raised in the Middle East to Scottish parents, Kennedy-McNeill was encourage to identify as a Scot. Returning to Ayrshire aged sixteen, however, made her promptly realise that the locals didn't consider her as one of them. Her anglicised accent meant she couldn't be understood asking for a bus ticket to the nearest stop to her house, in Drongan, East Ayrshire. Confusingly, since moving to London eight years ago she is often easily identified as Scottish now.

Kennedy-McNeill's work highlights an important facet of British attitudes; that despite our widespread and diverse multiculturalism, speech and accent remain a crucial factor in determining 'who belongs where', perhaps due to their indication of class and ethnic background. The way we speak can reveal or obscure our past, our family and our roots.

The vulnerability of this is expressed further by Kennedy-McNeill by exhibiting the work across the front of her home, on the threshold of public and private space.

A multidisciplinary artist living and teaching around London, Kennedy-McNeill uses her practice to examine inherited and constructed identity and is a contributor to Issue #3, Motherland.

To see more of Jill's work or to contact her, visit:


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