Friday, 15 January 2016

Migration and Identity

I have recently focussed on this theme for three projects each with a film output:

Home is Where the Heart Is

Working with Gauri Desai at CSV Ipswich, who was running an Integration programme funded by the EU for women who had recently migrated here: we introduced the students to the Anglo-Saxons in Suffolk with a visit to Ipswich Museum and Sutton Hoo (a National Trust site), and discussed the material remains in the context of culture change and human experience, asking what might evoke a sense of belonging, home and identity.  We ended our sessions by filming a Q & A session about personal migration stories, while sitting on the grass at Sutton Hoo. The outcome, Home is Where the Heart Is, was directed by Gauri Desai and filmed and edited by the CSV students who were taught and supervised by Tanzi Bizounus (producer and digital manager) and Matthew Bright, Ipswich Community TV (now Ipswich Collective Picture House). My time on this project was supported by the Pacitti Company Think Tank and the Colchester & Ipswich Museums Service.

Photograph of Lucy with Gauri Desai and CSV students at Sutton Hoo
(courtesy of CSV Vision Ipswich and with thanks to Sutton Hoo for allowing us to film there)

Selie Suffolk: Bequest and Identity

Emboldened by the film project Home is Where the Heart Is Gauri Desai successfully applied for Heritage Lottery Funds to create 4 films about 4 waves of migration in Suffolk and Ipswich -  working with her CSV Vision-Evolution project students, the same film team (Tanzi Bizounus and Matthew Bright), and me as advisor and presenter of the history film. Three short films focus on the 20th century - the Sikh Community, Hamil Clarke (former Mayor of Ipswich) from the Caribbean, and an interview with a contemporary asylum seeker. The fourth, and longer film, explores with local archaeologists and historians, a linguist and an urban historic environment planner, the legacy of migration in Suffolk and Ipswich since the Anglo-Saxon period.  The films celebrate the fact that Suffolk’s heritage is one of rich cultural diversity, and enabled people who had recently settled here to share their stories. It was particularly interesting to shape and make them with a multi-cultural team, many of whom had recently moved here from different parts of the world. Our thanks go to everyone who was prepared to be filmed and to the specialists in the history film who so generously gave their time and expertise.

Filming excavation of an Anglo-Saxon settlement at Culford School, Suffolk
(thanks to Suffolk Archaeology and Culford School for allowing us on site)

Filming at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
(thanks to Colchester & Ipswich Museums Service for allowing us to film there)

On Identity

The Mill Road History Project in Cambridge focuses on an area which developed, from a path through the medieval town’s East Field into a dense urban streetscape, over the last 200 years. It grew largely due to the coming of the railway and ancillary businesses, and developed a character quite different to the university town, becoming home to people who migrated here for work -  initially from rural villages and towns and more recently from countries around the world.  As part of the Cambridge University Festival of Ideas 2014, on the theme of ‘Identity’, we organised an evening at the Museum of Cambridge and filmed residents of Mill Road talking about their lives and how they found themselves here. The history project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the film was made by Hermes A.Contreras, on the MA Film & TV Production, Cambridge School of Arts.

Baker’s Map, 1830 showing Mill Road before development
(courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection)

Lucy Walker


Access Archaeology
69 Glisson Road

01223 367615
07802 668234