I know I’ve been out of the loop for a while, but things have begun to pick up with a project that I’ve been working on for the past year, Moroccan Memories in Britain. I have previously mentioned this project before on the blog, but to refresh your memory, Moroccan Memories is an oral and visual history project, exploring three generations of British-Moroccans.
At the moment, Moroccan Memories is having a national touring exhibition, which started with a bang at the British Library, where some of the oral histories collected will be archived. The exhibition has travelled to Westminister Academy and will be at SOAS, University of London from Monday, 15th of December to Thursday the 18th of December 2008. This will be your last chance to see the exhibition of you are in London, as we will be travelling to St. Albans, Crawley, Trowbridge, Manchester and finishing on the 9th of February 2009 in Edinburgh.
If you are out and about and would like to hear amazing beats from the Harir Band and Gwana Blues, please come to a FREE concert on Monday the 15th of December 2008 at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS. The concert starts at 7:30-9:30pm.
For information regarding the Moroccan Memories in Britain National Touring Exhibition please visit out site at:
This is an essay from guest writer for Intersections, Jacqueline Walker, the author of Pilgrim State.
In 1959, as a five year old, I arrived in Southampton from Jamaica having experienced periods of separation from my mother. Like many Caribbean parents of the time, my mother had been working away, in her case in Canada, to save enough money to take her family to Britain. As children we were being united not just with our physical mother but with the country we had been taught to think of as the Mother Country. Many years later, when I began research into the construction of British Caribbean identity for a postgraduate thesis, it became clear that the confluence between Caribbean notions of mothers and Motherland with experiences of separation and reunion were not just part of my personal childhood history. The work of Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy, amongst others, has explored the response of Black British people to migration and colonialism. My intention here is to examine one strand of this thinking, with particular reference to a number of literary works, Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners and my own book Pilgrim State in order to better understand the ways that the experience of migration and settlement for people of Caribbean descent has changed over the last sixty years.
The effects of enslavement on the relationship to ‘self’ has been commented on by writers such as CLR James and Franz Fanon. For more than two hundred years people of African descent had their bodies and minds enslaved through a number of violent and subtle stages that internalised oppression, making bearable what was, in reality, insufferable. However, people will always subvert oppression and Africans were not passive victims; they never have been, they rebelled, not just through acts of open revolt, such as those which occurred in Barbados or Haiti. In every day life enslaved peoples subverted the power of the plantocracy, developing coded, highly mobile language systems, casting spells, corrupting food and saboutaging work schedules. However, one of the most effective and least known modes of resistance was the action taken by women in relation to their own reproduction. Control of fertility was, not surprisingly, a central arena for conflict; the issue being not simply how many children a woman would have, but when they would be born, who the father would be and the eventual fate of those children. Continue reading
in association with SOAS Palestine Society and LSE SU Palestine Society
ORAL HISTORY DAY
Saturday 1 MARCH 2008
Please book in advance at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Eye of the Spoken Word: Oral History and The 1948 Nakba
The Oral History Day event brings together scholars, filmmakers and oral history specialists to reflect on the narratives of the 1948 Nakba. Presenting the people’s voices, the speakers will further discuss the importance of oral history as an instrument for preserving the Palestinian collective memory and relaying the events that surrounded the 1948 Nakba and beyond. We will hear and see stories of both the survivors and the perpetrators throughout the day.
SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies – Thornhaugh Street , Russell Square , London WC1H 0XG
For the past two weeks, I have been working on a MRCF project called Moroccan Memories in Britain, An Oran and Visual History
Moroccan Memories was set up by Dr. Myriam Cherti as a way to bridge the historical gap between past and post 1960 Moroccan migration to the UK. As a fieldworker, my job will be to capture three generations worth or oral and visual histories, targeting the areas of Trowbridge, Crawley, and St. Albans. What is brilliant about this project is how it incorporates intergenerational ties among those in the Moroccan community. As is mentioned in the Moroccan Memories pamphlet, by examining the “intergenerational ties amongst members of the Moroccan community [can create] platforms for discussion and dialogue between the three generations, is an additional desired project output.” The oral testimonies gathered will be kept in archive at the British Library Sound Archives, HISTORYtalk in North Kensington, Mass-Observational Archive at the University of Sussex, and the Living Memory Association in Edinburgh. This will ensure that future generations of British-Moroccans and the wider public will have access to the rich history within this diaspora
I am really excited by what this project is promoting and looking forward to my first interview experience. I have to complete eight interviews before April, so if you are British Moroccan and live in the three listed areas, please feel free to get in touch with me or Dr. Cherti (see contact info below) if you would like to share your story.
Dr. Myriam Cherti
Tel: 020 8962 3045
Through the MRCF, I have also come across another interesting group called Persian Adult-Day Care. It was set up by Roohy Shahin as a way for her mother to socialize with other older adults within the Persian community in London. Roohy does address an important but often neglected theme in diaspora studies– how to care for the needs of elder relatives, many of which may have not entirely assimilated or only have come recently to the host country to settle with their children. Persian Adult-Day Care meets every Thursday from 11am-4pm, and provides elder Iranians (between the ages of 65-80?) a chance to meet others in their peer group. The psychological impact is priceless because it allows elder Iranians not to feel so marginalized, alone and neglected. It gives them an outlet to feel part of a community, a home.
I’m going to comment more about these two projects in the coming months. I’ve already been asked by Roohy’s mom to be a regular volunteer for Persian Adult-Day Care.