Fascinating migration stories are the focus of new film
Published: 18 October 2011
Tales of families brought together after generations apart are among those uncovered in a film premiering at the Ulster American Folk Park next week.
Moving Lives, aunique work chronicling 20 migration stories, has been produced by award-winning film maker Mairead McClean, after filming with participants of the Museum’s Live and Learn Project, which aims to increase the number of people over 50 who engage with the museum’s collections.
The film, which will be launched in Tullyallen Mass House on Thursday September 29, will run there for all of October.
People from various backgrounds and cultures spoke to Mairead over the summer to reveal their personal stories about migration. Among memories featuring in Moving Lives are those of a tea-set returning to Tyrone after 120 years in America, parcels and presents arriving from far-flung destinations as well as sadder stories of relatives leaving, never to be seen again.
Mairead, who was born in Beragh, County Tyrone, is no stranger to migration herself, having moved to London 25 years ago.
She explained: “It was a terrific experience to hear such a wide range of fascinating stories. Some stretched back four generations, having been passed down through the family. Others recalled memories of migration in their own lifetime, reflecting on immediate family members leaving and their reasons for doing so.
“Some experienced migration directly coming to Northern Ireland to work or set up home. They recounted the experience of being in a place that is totally different from their own culture and home and what that feels like.
“Like the popular television programme Who Do You Think You Are, the participants also discovered more about themselves and their families during the filming and that they had a shared experience with recent migrants to their towns and villages.”
Briege McClean, Outreach Officer for the Live and Learn Project, said: “The Ulster American Folk Park brings to life the experiences of people who emigrated from Ulster to North America in the 18th and 19th centuries so it was an excellent location for filming.
“Tullyallen Masshouse was the perfect backdrop for Mairead’s filming and we are so pleased that her work highlights how migration is part of most people’s lives one way or another.
“A significant part of our work involves outreach projects where the museum’s collections and exhibitions are brought to the over 50s in the community and this project has really helped engage with this group.”
Visitors to the Ulster American Folk Park will also be able to see the Creative Summer Showcase - craftwork based on aspects of the Museum’s collections, created this summer by over 100 Live and Learn participants who worked closely with professional artists.
Based on aspects of the Museum’s collections the showcase includes ceramics, feltwork, baskets, blacksmithing, digital photography monoprinting on to linen and drawings.
For more information check out the Ulster American Folk Park page.
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