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Community Archive Project Reverberate Documents Black Irish Migrant Experience

8 Dec 2022 9:40 AM | Anonymous

Reverberate is an oral history project developed by Éireann and I, a black migrant community archive, in collaboration with members of Galway’s African diaspora.

The project invited Black migrants settled in Galway to recount their journeys to Ireland, their relationship with the city, and to reflect on whether or not they have developed a sense of belonging. It opens on Saturday December 3 in the Galway Arts Centre, with music and performances by Church and Wally Nikita and food by Melting Pot Luck. The exhibition will run until Thursday 22 December.

Reverberate documents the legacies of migration as they happen, giving narrative agency and equal centering to each perspective. The testimonies gathered here come from eight individuals of varying age and origin, whose stories touch on parenting, politics, the effects of the asylum system, and the communities and organisations they have built.

The narrators share obvious commonalities, but in between each story is woven more implicit threads of connection that make evident the ways in which we are all affected by the same global and local tensions that cause people to leave where they are from and build new lives elsewhere.

This project consists of a series of radio broadcasts and a listening library and recording room installed in the Galway Arts Centre. By using oral history as a parallel to African storytelling tradition - which functions to pass past beliefs, counsel, morals, and myths down to new generations - we are seeking to challenge the fixedness of the archive, restructuring it as an active and living space that accommodates multiple voices, that responds, repeats, and echoes between places and perspective. One which invites others to add to the record too.

The listening library invites you to listen, read transcripts and other resources which connect and expand on the subjects shared by the participants. The recording room is offered as an activation of the archive where you can enter to record your own oral history.

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  • 9 Dec 2022 3:31 AM | Anonymous
    Thank you for this. I live on the other side of the country (Ireland's sunny south) and had not heard of this exhibit. I'll pass it along to my Black Irish friends.

    I grew up in the US with the term black Irish. They were Irish white people with black hair, brown eyes and olive skin. The belief in my family was that they were the descendants of the Moors. It was all very apocryphal, with several different explanations. It's been interesting to see how the country has changed in the past 50 years.
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