What is the future of citizenship in Britain and what new rules will be proposed for immigrants to become citizens? Manufactured Britishness is a project derived from the compulsory and very real Life in the UK test, which examines skills for integrating into British society. The project critically explores the assessment program contrived by Britain in testing for citizenship by proposing a future manifestation of the Life in the UK test. In this future, we see immigrants as an exploitable material, a living currency, compelled to sustain national identity in order to maximise capitalistic agendas. At what point does one ‘become’ British? What are the criteria and who makes the final decision?
The film depicts a fictional system in the future where immigrants must undergo physical assessments to demonstrate their worth as prospective British citizens. The narrative is set in post-industrial locations that have ceased to bring any value to the economy. These areas are turned into training zones where immigrants engage in pre-learned and repetitive tasks in order to pass a bizarre test of citizenship. They sing Messiah by Handel, show appreciation for Newton, and demonstrate a calm demeanour when dealing with social accidents and emergencies – all strictly aligned with Britain’s customs, culture, and values. Are they British now?