Becoming Homebaked

Samantha Jones

Credit: Homebaked


This chronological ‘snapshot’ is taken from more than four years and 200 hours of audio recordings and twenty-four notebooks of observations, notes and reflections on the journey of the local community to become Homebaked. I use ‘Homebaked’ as a term denoting the slow building of collective resilience within the face of the ‘tyranny of emergency’, in the words of Jérôme Bindé,1 that characterises the everyday lives of the residents of Anfield, as well as a work of art, co-operative bakery and Community Land Trust (CLT). What I have chosen to ‘snapshot’ are only some of the key moments of change leading to Homebakedbecoming what I call a logic of resilience and what Arjun Appadurai describes as ‘deep democracy’ through the ‘politics of patience’.2 The hard-won cumulative victories and long-term asset-building that is framed in every aspect of the activities of Homebaked, striving for the mobilisation of the knowledge of the local residents into methods driven by and for the local residents, is a slow and risk-laden process. This process has directed Homebaked away from its initial art-project format and this underlies how it has been able to influence urban change within Anfield. Homebaked has itself understood the importance of slow learning and cumulative change through this longitudinal model. Likewise, other strategies and tactics have been geared to long-term capacity-building, the gradual gaining of knowledge and trust. This open and long-term modality has been a difficult commitment to retain in the face of the urgency, and even desperation, that characterises the needs of the local residents of Anfield as regeneration strategies shift and change and continue to threaten not only Homebaked but also their own homes. But it has been crucial that Homebaked, its board, volunteers and members, have accepted this as a historic and ever-present normative reality in which to exist, so as to guarantee resilience against the ongoing risk that the needs of large corporations may seek to obliterate the needs of the collective.

Jeanne van Heeswijk asked me to collect a chronological timeline of some of my observations of Homebaked, which was originally to be called 2up2down. I chose to begin with the first walk that Van Heeswijk and I made around Anfield, and continue with the young people’s workshops and the point where the bakery and Homebaked begins to take on a life of its own. I have also included some conversations, group and one-to-one, since one person’s observations do not represent the complex narrative of Homebaked. This does not include all the people involved in Homebaked, the extensive number of volunteers, board members and working groups whose meetings took place over the four years of my PhD research. Nor does it include all the talks, events, training undertaken by the volunteers and staff, school and community Life of the Loaf workshops, or reflect the sheer physical graft that the residents put into renovating the bakery against the odds, or the day-to-day functioning of Homebaked as a bakery that I have been lucky enough to observe and take part in. But I wish to acknowledge all these elements here, since without this depth of commitment and patience, there would have been no ‘becoming of Homebaked’.

Chronologic excerpts from observation and conversations 2010–2014 (Notebooks 1–24 & Audio Recordings)

A walk around Anfield with Jeanne van Heeswijk – Notebook 1.


I began my PhD when asked by a curator how I would respond to working as an artist in North Liverpool where I was born and raised. It was then that I realised that although I’d predominantly worked in areas of conflict in other countries, when faced with the prospect of working on the ground within an area with which I was intimately familiar, I couldn’t perceive how my own practice could be relevant to such complexity, and I was also tentative about how emotionally turbulent the reality would be. It made me ask myself, ‘Why haven’t I risen up against the continual devastation of my own community?’

So here I am, four months into my collaborative PhD, with plenty of potential case studies, but none that are convincing, and about to walk around Anfield with artist Jeanne van Heeswijk. Paul Domela and Paul Kelly seem to think I may find my answers in Jeanne’s practice, yet all I can think of is: ‘How can I explain a place to someone that’s full memories of my childhood and my grandparents, and do I really want to?’


Jeanne and I meandered through Anfield as I told her about my upbringing, my grandparents being moved from a two-up-two-down house beside the Anfield Park to a flat in Breck Road, my childhood memories of the area, the difficulties of aspiring to be something other than what was expected of you if you’re a young person raised in North Liverpool. I was also unusually frank in expressing my belief that an artist shouldn’t come to an area like Anfield to do an art project then leave, since this could be destructive.

Benchmark: would I let her near my parents? Yes I think I probably would. OK, maybe this PhD will be worth it after all.

Full-scale Model Workshop – Notebook 3.

The design phase seems to have advanced dramatically. I walked into the workshop to find young people walking around the physical living spaces that they’d designed, placing furniture, sitting to test the space between settee and TV, realising the corridor was too narrow, working out the best space for Bob, who wanted his grandson to stay over and a space for his tools. They’d moved beyond their fantastical ideas to a real-life understanding of designing a house and home. They’d been the consulters within the architectural process, not the consulted, presenting their designs to the rest of the group (of mainly adults). They possessed confidence and ownership of their ideas. Sometimes asking for clarification of technical language from the collaborating architects, the young people directed the activities alongside their adult counterparts, teaching non-design professionals within the workshop like myself the process of scaling-up their architectural drawings.‘This is a 1:100 scale plan we’ve marked up on the floor. We’re using the cardboard to create the walls. The corridor will be too narrow for Bob … can you see?’

Building and Electronic Workshop at Liverpool City Community College – Notebook 5.

I turned up at the workshop today to find the young people, both male and female, engrossed in building walls. Some of the girls had stylishly customised their dungarees, showing great pride in the level of finish of their cement and brick work. The physicality and repetition of the building work allowed for those involved to engage in the flow of the activity. Their sense of achievement was highly apparent in their banter, as well as their competitiveness: ‘Mine’s the best … I’m going to build my own house … Can’t wait to start building our houses … When can we start?’ Each young person wanted a photo of themselves with their walls, also taking their own on their phones to share with friends and family.

1:20 Scale-model Workshop at Mitchell’s Bakery – Notebook 8.

It’s late and dark. I was chatting with the girls this evening, after they’d completed their 1:20 scale models. I was curious about the attention to detail that was included in the models. So they explained in very precise language the type of insulation, its thickness, its ecological impact … The shift from random energetic conversations concerning everyday teenage things to clear and focused engagement with the architectural process seemed at its most amplified. I asked what these models meant to them. ‘It’s real, a real house, a real home … and we’ve made them especially for the people who are going to be living in them … we’ve met them, we know them and we’ve designed homes especially for them.’ These models seemed to have crystallised the reality of the process. The girls have always been committed, even on these cold dark evenings in this old disused bakery, learning quite technical and dry topics, real skills to design houses, never really wavering in the belief that they’re investing not only in themselves, but also in their friends, family, community. And tonight, their models symbolised in some form what they’ve achieved.

Tower of Flour – Notebook 10

I spoke to Fred today. I’d been observing a design workshop that was followed directly by a local residents’ CLT focus group or ‘Auspicious Occasion’ as they’ve come to be known, taken from the old sign ‘Auspicious Occasion Cakes’ in the bakery. We observed and discussed the shift in the use of the bakery space from primarily design workshops to a multi-use space for coffee mornings and CLT meetings. Both the girls from the design team and the residents had been working separately, although paths would cross at the bakery. Since there had been no formal introduction, Fred proposed this activity, Tower of Flour, to facilitate any questions that the two groups may have of each other.

Credit: Homebaked

Short Excerpt from Tower of Flour Conversation initiated by Homebaked member Fred – Notebook 10 and Audio Transcription

[Tour of Flour loosely follows the format of the game ‘Jenga’. Each person helps build the tower and then takes out a wooden block to enable them to ask a question, until the tower collapses and is rebuilt again.]

Players: Franny (Biennial staff), Lynn and Fred (Volunteers), Emily (Architect), Young Person’s Design Team, Kayleigh (Young Person’s Support Worker), Sam (Researcher)

Young person 1: Right, realistically ...

Young person 2: 'Realistically?’ That's really clever for you, that.

Young person 1: When is the deadline for this project to be finished?

Kayleigh: The whole thing is all set up and running.

Lynne: I don't see it like that. I don't see it as ever being finished. We've got started and we just keep going and going.

Young person 3: Is there anything you want to ask?

Sam: This may be a bit broad, but I'm curious what you think you've got from the project and what you’d ideally like from it?

Young person 2: Do you mean what we want to gain from it? I’d like to go for job, and for them to know I could actually do it.

Young person 3: I'd like to know how to mix concrete. Cement – I meant cement.

Lynne: I've got a question then: what's the difference between concrete and cement?

Young people: Concrete is for pavements and cement is the stuff that puts the walls together; it's like a paste.

[Physical description of how to use cement and what it is]

Emily: Would any of you, after doing the design of the houses, want to continue this as a job?

Young person 1: Yes, I want to be an architect.

Young Person 2: I want to work with the walls and the ceilings and the details.

[Emily and young people discuss the difference between architecture and architraves.]

Franny: That could be an interior designer; an architect is the person who designs the structures and works with the space.

Young person 2: I want to make work like the girl back on the dock by the museum that comes out at night. It looks ace.

Young person 4: You mean the projection?

Sam: So you think this has changed what you want to do?

Young people: Yes, yes.

[Game continues…]

Fred: The follow-on from Sam's question: why are you still here?

Young person 2: B ecause we have to be here till six o'clock.

Fred: Then why are you still here till six o'clock?

Young person 3: Oh, it's unusual: it’s not every day you get the opportunity for six or seven, or however many young people, to be given the trust to build a house, to make something … You never really see that do you?

Young person 4: Seven of us designing houses? You’d never see one of us doing that. It's a one in a million opportunity.

Open House, Clean Up, Coffee Mornings, CLT meetings – Notebooks 10/11.

OK, just a brief summary here for myself: every time the bakery is open or even just has the shutters up, people keep coming through the door (or trying, as its very very stiff) and asking if the bakery is open, or when it will be open. Most of the time, they’ll be offered a cup of tea and Franny, Lynn, Fred or another member of the CLT group, if there’s a meeting going on, will explain that the bakery is currently a workshop space and hub for the 2up2down young peoples’ housing project. Local people, taxi drivers, builders, football fans, people stopping in their cars because they used to visit the Mitchell’s bakery when they lived in Anfield before the Housing Market Renewal: each has a story, some, of losing their homes and community. The bakery seems to be like a landscape that represents and holds within it the collective memories of Anfield. It brings to mind the phrase from Merleau-Ponty: ‘It’s not so much the objects as the homeland of our thoughts … an enduring record of – and testament to – the lives and works of the past generations who have dwelt within it and in doing so have left there something of themselves’.3

Project Launch – Notebook 11.

It seemed a little disorientating coming into the bakery today: after months of workshops, tidy-ups, it had become a public space again overnight; a point of common ground, even for the sceptics to meet, converse, exchange diverse opinions and present the plans for 2up2down to the local residents, press VIPs and many other interested parties. Some people I think just want to come in and have another look at the Mitchell’s building and find out what’s being done to it. The bakery is the star of the show, and the proposed plans to re-open it by local business women is a press-friendly story. The slogan ‘Brick by brick, loaf by loaf we build ourselves’ seems to connect with people, and baking and the bakery are a very human way into the complexity of housing-renewal.

Bakery Workshops at City Community College Change – Notebook 11.

The bakery has certainly captured everyone’s imagination. Franny organised for the young people and local residents to learn how to make bread. Gary from the Community College took us through the process of dough-making, the theory and technical aspects, as well as the hands-on bread-making. This evening, the girls from the design team and the burgeoning group of local residents involved in 2up2down made bread together. Some were naturals, others like myself were not! Prior tensions ebbed away, everyone engaged with learning how to knead the dough, absorbed in the flow of the activity (a little like the young people and the building workshop and just as messy, but edible … well, mostly). The bread-making evoked humour at the differing natural skill levels, and the group’s conversations moved between personal histories, in-depth questions around how to make affordable but wholesome bread for the local community, and possible careers in baking – not just for the young people; there could be some changes in careers ahead.

Bakery Design Camp – Notebook 12

Today, there’s a coming-together of the young person’s design team and adult residents to design the front aspect of the bakery. Ideas and designs had been put together in previous workshops with full-scale cardboard models. The girls from the design team lead on this, since they’ve done it previously on Bob’s house, and walk through the different ways the counter could be laid out and the pros and cons of these. Emily (the architect) inputs too, as do the other adults, but the girls show their skills and knowledge in this area, questioning the comments and proposals of the group, unpicking their reasoning about why it should be on the right rather than the left. They have very strong ideas that there should be a walk-through into the bakery space behind, because this will give easy access to the products and show the baking that’s going on. Also, despite previously drawn-up designs, they’re adamant alongside some of the local residents that the bakery should have a space for ‘locals to be welcome … sit, meet chat and have a place that’s theirs’. The designs will have to change somewhat … and I think the bakery will be called Homebaked.

Meeting that could change everything… – Notebook 12

The Community Land Trust is cracking on a pace, the constitution is being written, residents finding their roles and tentatively defining and acquiring the skills to set up a CLT, yet the question of who runs the bakery rumbles on. After many (and some very emotional) conversations concerning the role of the local business women in the new co-operative bakery, a meeting between all interested parties took place. At moments, a standoff at the OK Corral, the meeting this afternoon showed a very distinct shift in power away from the initiators of the project. The local residents and young people’s design teams flexed their collective muscles and no amount of conversation would convince them that no one other than themselves should determine who runs the bakery … the residents are taking over the bakery.

Tour Workshop – Notebook 15

The Biennial is coming up. Work and energy has focused on the bakery to get it ready for the project’s presentation within the festival. This is quite a risk for Jeanne, the resident group, and the Biennial, I’m sure. Mediating to an art audience a complex social narrative that’s so personal to so many will give a platform and potential leverage for the area, residents and 2up2down/Homebaked(?), but crikey what a risk. Jeanne has proposed a heritage tour with a difference, including local residents telling their own personal stories of the HMR in Anfield and presenting the area’s red-brick house as a monument to challenge any other British monument. She turned down some potential writers/theatre producers to work with Britta, a theatre director who’s part of the local residents’ CLT/Bakery group and the writer Debbie Morgan, a former local resident. Today, I took part in the tour workshop led by Britt and Debbie, mapping stories, memories, histories of the area against the potential route of the tour. Britt loosened us up with some physical activities. I think I climbed under the bench as another way of looking at the bakery. Debbie quietly asked us all to add our stories to the Anfield map. Humour and optimism mixed with some devastating personal accounts. There was an element of catharsis in the sharing of stories and nervousness surrounding the telling of them in public.

Anfield Home Tour – Notebooks 15/16

After an extensive bakery fit-out by the builders, and renovation by the local residents (we’re talking about cleaning paint off hundreds of original tiles among everything else), the Homebaked bakery is ready for the tour. I had some idea what to expect, having taken part in the workshop and subsequent discussions, yet the tour was still a shock. The initial light anarchic humorous tour with a song by Bob opened up into an emotional assault. I’d heard the stories before from Bob, Fred, Jayne and Sue, but observing/hearing from them as part of a tour party exposed their fragility, resilience, bravery and sheer generosity in sharing their lives with a group of strangers. The welcome at the bakery from Britt produced a collective exhalation.

I’ve talked to both Fred and Sue, since they’ve done so many tours due to its popularity. I was wondering what their experience was.

Fred: It was very satisfying and without putting anyone at the Biennial out, we were the stars of the show!

Sue: They listened; they were sympathetic to the fact that this was my home and I’d gone through a lot of changes in the area, and the fact that there were times when I thought I was going to have to leave … I didn’t find it invasive; in fact, I found it quite a social experience: I really enjoyed having people come into my house and being able to talk to them

KickStarter, The One Show and the reality of running a bakery – Notebooks 18/19

Everything is happening at a pace. Jess took part in the The One Show, there’s been a bake-off, and the group have started a Kickstarter campaign to bring an oven into the heart of Anfield. Homebaked is everywhere, since the group decided to run the bakery themselves, coupled with the Anfield Home Tour. Homebaked the bakery is now the overarching narrative and symbol of change in the area of Anfield. The group has created a new narrative for themselves and the area, confidence and energy are high. The nuts and bolts of running the bakery still need working through, but the bakery working group’s language has now moved from formative to strategic. With a test opening scheduled, the bakery may start baking soon.

These are short edited excerpts of one-to-one discussions with Britt Jurgensen, Jess Doyle and Fred Brown that took place following the Anfield Home Tour, the Kickstarter and The One Show, which followed in quick succession.

Sam: The momentum behind it has snowballed. I’m curious about what you think the tour did.

Britt: I think it’s important to tell the story in a very intimate way, specifically for people like Sue, Fred and Jane – to tell their story and for it to be heard by so many people. I think [it was good] for our self-confidence, for starting to have people come in through the door and that openness, the warmth, the welcome … and I guess also the fact that we got a lot of press coverage that people were very proud of. We also felt quite strongly about the things that have made us angry for a long time now … that there’s a way of people listening to that story: that’s really important. Because it led straight into the Kickstarter, it was the beginning of a ball rolling. I would say that possibly the Kickstarter and the genius that Jess & Lynne had to get us onto The One Show [were important], and in a way the bakery part of it probably does more, because it’s simpler, more people can see it and it’s depoliticised. The tour gave us that base to sit on.

Sam: A context for a broader conversation?

Britt: Yeah, and the understanding to work through some things we’d had conversations about. There was a sense of people coming from everywhere – internationally, from different cities who said, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard this story before. That is a global phenomenon.’ This happens in many places and I think it made people feel less alone. We got a lot of feedback from all over the place …

Sam: And it does seem like there was a sense of autonomy within that. I did follow the emails initially about The One Show that came from the bakery. It’s that amalgamation of things that align. You can’t create a template for things or make them align. It’s that point where everything crosses over and it happens. And it’ll happen again.

Britt: And it will stagnate again and they’ll be some of the most difficult moments: when you come out of that high, and then you have to work hard and nothing happens. It’s really interesting for me in terms of narratives to have the Anfield narrative. I wrote the script for Jess for the fundraising video and I had to leave out certain things. I thought, ‘Nobody wants to know about housing renewal. Can we just down-strip it? We’re opening a bakery – that’s iconic’. It’s still a story, one of many stories. It was a difficult process for me because I had to think, ‘Whose story am I trying to crystallise?’

Sam: People need to be able to identify with one person rather than with multiple ideas. If they see a human being and they’ve got a story, then that cuts through it.

Britt: It’s that particular symbol and when we reached the target with eleven or twelve days to go, it’s very difficult to say, ‘Well, we need more money. We also need to pay staff’ … It’s the psychological thing – they push you to that moment of celebration and then they’re like ‘Why would I want to give any more?’ But we’re nearly at £17,000 now! [Laughs] It’s so brilliant, so brilliant and so lovely – with another £1,000 in the bank that we got through match day. That’s another thing – match days rock the house! They’re so much fun – and that’s another thing that happened with us opening on match days: what we did with Kickstarter and The One Show was to catch the football supporters and that’s great as they’re so international and travelled.

Sam: That narrative of the symbolic, iconic bakery … It’s interesting that the bakery has tilted the project away from the housing, because it’s more accessible: there’s that warm, friendly intimate feel that people can connect with. It’s hard to digest the bigger picture because of the scale, and maybe people who feel under threat don’t want to connect with the project because they don’t want to consider losing their houses.

Britt: I’m worried about that … like what made the whole bubble burst is to a massive degree a speculation on housing, and that story should be so poignant – but it’s as if it’s nearly too much for everyone, for different reasons. I’m sure you remember Jeanne saying, ‘Over my dead body is it going to be a nice bakery!’ I believe that would be so sad, although I want the bakery to work, as I hope that that will make a stepping stone – everybody gets bread. As you said, [losing your house is] scary; it’s so fundamental, more fundamental than a bakery going – if you can’t afford a house, that’s so fundamental for people.

Sam: With Kickstarter, there seemed to be points of conjunction that moved you forward – though I imagine it’s been hard work to keep on board with some things.

Jess: These things were bound to happen; they were supposed to happen. We MADE them happen. Then success gives you more confidence and you hope the next thing you do is going to be really successful. People may have doubts about it, but they don’t have a self-conscious sense of: ‘Oh this can’t work.’ It’s a real boost, thinking what you’re really capable of. The support has been immense too – the donations…

Sam: Do you think that because you did the Kickstarter video to fundraise, it’s more about what you as a community are saying?

Jess: To have that money is definitely empowering. The money is going to go into Homebaked’s account. For the business to do well, and for us to have raised that money ourselves is an incredible thing.

Sam: It gives you the confidence to work more autonomously .

Jess: We need advice and we need help – but we’ve got offers of help; if they can’t make a donation, they’ll give time – and actually, time is better. We’ve got people from marketing agencies, we’ve got people from Bosch who want to give us their time.

Sam: Are they coming through Homebaked?

Jess: Through Kickstarter. We tend to keep everyone in the loop of what’s happening. That’s the thing about this power shift – we’ve got people via Kickstarter saying they want to help us in different ways – and it’s up to us to decide essentially who that should be. There’ll be times when Maria might say, ‘I don’t think this is such a great idea’, or Anthony might say, ‘Go for it!’ It’s a mixture of advice and direction. I always think, ‘What could go wrong?’ because these people are offering their time and we can choose to take it.

Sam: Kickstarter has obviously had a major effect. How did that come about?

Jess: That was down to us knowing that we needed an oven and knowing that we wanted to use crowd-sourcing. Then it was just a case of everyone deciding what website was good, the best one to use. Jeanne had known about Kickstarter and had always donated money, but that was when it was in America. So then it came to England. It’s a brilliant thing to exist: I love it, and what it allows you to do. The fact that we’ve raised our money with eighteen days to go … It also gives you an idea if the project is worthwhile: you get a scope from it.

Sam: Do you think the tour has had any impact on the project?

Jess: Yes. It’s been brilliant waiting for people to come down and find out more about the project, in a very detailed way. It’s history is really important. The people who came on the tour were a diverse crowd and they may have gone back home and told people about it – for example, to New York. It’s done a great thing, but I don’t know if it’s done a great thing in the area; that was the whole point of The One Show: to be seen. The tour was in The New York Times and The Guardian, but, as Andrea said, her dad doesn’t read The Guardian.

Sam: It seems that Kickstarter has been the core thing; via crowd-sourcing, you can have multiple funders.

Jess: Yes. You don’t have to give £25,000, you just give what you can afford. We had a tour where the bus was full of bankers and we thought, ‘Are any of you going to give any money?’ I know the guy that brought them down is going to help out in future.

Sam: Kickstarter is more of a real ‘nuts and bolts’ – a collective generosity.

Jess: Yes, it’s real money from real individuals. And who knows if this would have been successful ten years ago? At this time, people do feel isolated and like to see people coming together to make something happen, to do something positive.

Fred: With the Biennial it’s about uniting the arts, people and place – and this project meets that criterion all the way through: it does all of that – even though there have been people coming through the door saying, ‘Where’s the art?’ Then we say, ‘It’s actually about the process of creating the art.’ All of this is because somebody said, ‘Let’s do it this way.’ In the same way that you’d choose which colour paint you’d use if paining, or choose what stone you’d use if you were going to do some carving, you can see the individual choices that have been made – ‘Let’s do it this way, let’s do it that way’ – that’s been our process.

Sam: Do you think then that the art is within the choices that come from that conversation?

Fred: Yes, very much so. I don’t always agree with the choices or the decisions that have been made, but because I trust everybody I’m working with, then if they’ve made those choices or decisions, they’ve made them for the right reasons. And in a project you don’t always have to agree – sometimes it’s healthy NOT to agree; I don’t want to be a nodding dog in the back seat. It’s the process of bringing things together. Just like you mix two colours together to make a third one, it’s the same as mixing two lots of people to make that third decision. So, it’s me looking from that point of view, someone else looking from another point of view and then coming up with something quite original from that.

Sam: So it’s a third thing – a decision or action, but it’s not a set third.

Fred: No, it’s whatever comes out when things are brought together. We’re all welcoming new ideas. We’re doing things as simply as we can: give it the time, give it the resources and don’t prescribe. So, you don’t actually say what things are going to be – that opens up a whole load of things you can do, to achieve something new, or even just to polish something off that’s got a bit dusty.

Sam: It seems that the project does have a prescribed direction, but there’s space within it as well.

Fred: One of the good things about it is the framework of the bakery and the CLT; as you can see from what’s been going on around the place, it’s such a flexible framework that anything that’s to do with either baking or housing can be facilitated. It’s very important that is should be that flexible. We all know what we’re working towards and we all know why we’re doing it; we might have individual variances on that but at the same time we all know the common aims – it’s to do with the oven at the heart of Anfield: ‘We will rise!’ This is us and everybody knows it’s us, and we’re always going to have the fall-outs and arguments, but they’re part of it. Even when you’re making bread and you’re kneading the dough, you’re putting all that energy into it. People say ‘feel the love’, but you can also feel the anger sometimes. It comes out in the making of the bread and in the bread itself.

Sam: There must be so much energy here – you’ve mentioned the love and the anger. But you’ve given it a framework where people can be generous to each other, despite the anger at what’s happened in this area.

Fred: They’re not angry with anyone here. I don’t even know if there’s anger for other people outside of here who’ve signed up to do things around this area that have been quite destructive. We’ve just been sick of waiting. If there’s love and energy it’s actually directed into the stuff that we’re doing here, and to anybody that comes through that door. It’s quite an emotional thing to be able to say that, but it’s also a very emotional thing to be able to do it, to be in a position with a whole load of people at your back, watching and covering your back all the time. I can say ‘This is us, we’re Homebaked’ and know there are twenty to thirty people behind me saying the same thing.

Sam: So if you were to put it down simply, what is Homebaked?

Fred: Brick by brick, loaf by loaf, we build each other; we build ourselves every day. The building work and the regeneration work that’s going on, that’s my particular interest. I’ve been watching it going on from my window and there’s a connection between baking bread and the way that bricks are made in a kiln. It’s materials being brought together and both being fired: both having that fire and that heat. They both need that fire and that heat to work. I made that connection a long time ago.

Sam: Do you think this is a different form of regeneration? A different model?

Fred: I wouldn’t even call it ‘regeneration’. That word is so sullied now, and it’s being made grubby by people using it to mean and do lots of different things. It’s like the idea of partnership being coming together to meet an agreed goal – or coming together reluctantly with people you don’t like or don’t want to work with – just to get your hands on the money. It feels as if that’s what regeneration is now: it’s about getting your hands on the money and at no point does it mention people. It’s automatically assumed that when you mention houses, you’re thinking about people, but people aren’t mentioned anywhere.

Sam: Do you think the length of this process and how it manifested itself has allowed you to become strong enough to … be aware that … there are a certain amount of conflicts that still need to be resolved?

Fred: There are. You have to manage that all the time, though. If there’s going to be person-to-person conflict going on, then you have to gauge how that other person is before you do an intervention. If you don’t get that intervention right – whether it’s what you say or the way you say it – then you can make things worse and start undermining people. I’d never want to do that, or for it to happen to me.

Sam: In the press, there’s been a lot of emphasis on the fact that this is a local project. That project was driven by Jeanne and the Biennial, and it was an art project – or the mediation of an art project. Do you have any thoughts on how the press has portrayed, placed or positioned the project?

Fred: Well, it’s placed it. It’s said, ‘This is happening.’ There’ll always be that portrayal of Anfield with demolition works and empty streets – and of course, the football ground – but there’s this little edge now that says something is different. And even though there’s been a bakery here for 100 years, the fact that it’s going to be a bakery again is a continuation of a tradition in the area – which is to be celebrated – and there’s an innovative approach to something that’s been here beforehand: it’s an iconic building now, an iconic place and an iconic presence. I think the press might not yet have cottoned onto that; it’s more of a novelty feature: [Laughs] bread being baked in a bakery! But when you start adding the other stuff – the community land, the premises upstairs, it being a hub for people to come in and have ideas and get support for putting those ideas into practice … I don’t think the press have got that yet.

Sam: Do you think it’s at least shone a spotlight on what’s happening, and made it easier for people to access that information? The story allows it to be accessible, whereas just information on houses …

Fred: I think so. And I think it’s that the invitation is there to walk through the door. This is quite simple to get involved with and to enjoy.

Sam: Do you think, say, The One Show and Kickstarter have made the message simple for people to connect with?

Fred: It’s the equivalent of something you have on a t-shirt. It’s not a great big convoluted thing (although it could be) but the main point is we’re going to be making bread and selling bread to people in the area.

Sam: It allows access to people through the door who can then access the rest of the story.

Fred: Yes. Or just to come in and buy some bread.

NEW Volunteer meeting – Notebook 20

I walk into the volunteers meeting today and can’t find anywhere to sit. The number of volunteers has exponentially increased at a rapid rate, mostly from hearing about Homebaked from The One Show and Kickstarter. Sue is organising the volunteers; they’re welcomed and the meeting begins. Britt goes through the agenda and upcoming trail days. There are so many new faces I have to introduce myself again and explain why I’m recording the meetings as part of my PhD research. These volunteers meetings are no longer Auspicious Occasions discussing ideas or propositions; this is a planning meeting. There are also discussions around the bakery having to be a success because it not only symbolises the hopes of the local community but is a model of co-operative working, of community ‘taking matters into their own hands’ (note to self – Jeanne’s words). The language of resistance has found its way back into the bakery.

Trial Opening Days – Notebook 21

So how many pies can we sell, how many can we make? The pies are flying out of the door. Not sure about the pastry, but that can be sorted out when we get the new manager. I’ve found pie-making can be quite addictive and the pace of the match day has an energy all of its own. In the bakery, after an initial pie workshop, myself and the other volunteers make pies in, let’s say, a creative chaos. I did find myself organising the work flow and that’s interesting, in the sense that up to this point I’ve kept as objective as possible. But the pies have done it for me – we have to sell award-winning pies! On the counter, football fans and members of the public are donating more than they’re being asked to for the food; the good will towards and foreknowledge of Homebaked are extensive. The conversations start with, either Mitchell’s, The One Show or Kickstarter, and the odd nod to the Biennial.

Homebaked Launch/Pies! – Notebook 22

The oven has been in for a while, the retro fit-out reflects the history of the building; we’ve been cooking pork pies for two days (thanks, pork-pie bike man).

The till is rubbish, but everyone has their place (learning from the trial openings) and are in the flow. The pies are coming out at speed, and we have Bosch guys outside with trays selling Homebaked pies. There’s a young local girl singing in the bakery (not sure why, will find out later) and the fans arrive early to buy Homebaked products. People are taking pictures and tweeting about Homebaked and the pies. There’s a tangible collective will for the bakery and CLT to succeed. And yes, after four years, I’ve just realised I’ve written the collective WE – I think that started with the pie-making.

Volunteer Meeting – Homebaked in times of Slow Patience and Democracy – Notebook 23

Again, a huge attendance at the volunteer meeting; more chairs are needed from the back room. A normal agenda is read: day-to-day running, practicalities, report that the bakery is doing better than expected against the projected business plan (thankfully no spread sheets now bombard the board meetings) but also news is given that the bakery building is under threat from new regeneration plans. It was quite a moment, but no up-in-arms, no raised voices, just an acknowledgement that ‘This is the way it is … it’s been like this for over fourteen years. Who knows what will really happen? … Let’s just carry on … We shouldn’t change our plans … and won’t.’

Notebook 23/24

Homebaked Bakery continues to open, has new staff and management in place, new volunteers joining in every day and functions as a business. The pies are still the star of the football scene, part of the fans’ match ritual and currently no 2 in the football pie league…but early days. The bakery has an extensive following of food lovers. The wholesale demand outstrips supply. The bakery/CLT board meetings are unrecognisable from their first incarnation. To quote Fred: This is not a site-specific installation. It’s a business and it’s about keeping properties and land in local ownership by local people. All the other stuff is, dare I say it, icing on the cake.’

Credit: Homebaked

Thank you to Homebaked, its volunteers and staff, and of course to Jeanne, for their patience, generosity and time.


Homebaked - Impact Report: Recipes for Revolutions, Sue Potts, 2014 

1 Jérôme Bindé, ‘Toward an Ethics of the future’, Public Culture 12, 2000, pp.51–72.

2 Arjun Appadurai, ‘Deep democracy: urban governmentality and the horizon of politics’, Environment & Urbanization, vol. 13, no. 2, October 2001.

3 Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, Routledge Classics, 2002, p.28.

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Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones is an MPhil/PhD student at Liverpool John Moores University working in collaboration with Liverpool Biennial. She is an international artist creating virtual and public artwork through data mining to map, analyse and interpret geo- and socio-political space and her thesis examines the Liverpool Biennial’s relationship to regeneration, wellbeing and public engagement. Jones has exhibited at international festivals including Split International Film and New Media Festival, 2004, FutureSonic Festival, 2007, and undertaken artist research residencies at Salford University’s Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) project, 2004-2005, and the International Triangle Workshop Jordan, 2008, supported by the British Council. From 2007-2009 she was consultant, lead artist and project manager with organisations including: FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool Culture Company, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation and University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to research, develop, present and lead programmes in investigation into the impact of new media and sonic art on the wellbeing of patients, staff and clinical settings, with support from the Wellcome Trust.