New Oral History Project to Document Stories of Separation through Migration: More at Combermere 12 April 2015 at 9:00 am

A new oral history project, ‘Barrel Stories‘, will document the experiences of persons affected by parental separation through migration.

Lisa Harewood answering questions from the audience while Andrew Millington listens

Lisa Harewood answering questions from the audience while Andrew Millington listens

The initiative recently launched at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination (EBCCI) and will record and share the stories of parents who make the difficult choice to temporarily leave their children behind; people who were once left behind by migrant parents to be sent for at a later date, as well as the people who looked after these children until they were sent for: aunties, grandmothers, and neighbours among others.

An audience member learning about the Barrel Stories Project

An audience member learning about the Barrel Stories Project

In an effort to share the stories with regional and international communities, the Barrel Stories project will be hosted online, featuring images, video clips and written content.

Filmmaker Lisa Harewood in discussion with Dr. Charmaine Crawford and Dr. Marcia Burrowes (backing camera)

Filmmaker Lisa Harewood in discussion with Dr. Charmaine Crawford and Dr. Marcia Burrowes (backing camera)

Led by Filmmaker Lisa Harewood with support from the Commonwealth Foundation, the project is inspired by Harewood’s short film, ‘Auntie‘. The film, starring Marcia Burrowes and Che-Annika Mayers, shares the fictional story of a woman whose strong bond with an eleven (11) year old girl left in her care is threatened the day a barrel arrives from London containing a plane ticket that will reunite the child with its biological mother.

Auntie‘ has played at film festivals all over the world including in Cuba, New Zealand, France, the US, and the UK, won the award for Best Short Film at the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) in 2013 and received seven nominations at the Barbados Film and Video Awards last year.

A section of the audience at the Barrel Stories launch

A section of the audience at the Barrel Stories launch

Speaking about the project, Harewood explains, “So many people contacted us with their personal stories after seeing the film and we created this project as a way to document as many of these stories as possible to continue to give these people a voice, to increase understanding and build support.

For those who have been through this kind of separation – whether parents, child or temporary caregiver – there are often long-lasting emotional effects that are not really talked about but that run deep. If you are a child whose parent migrates, research shows that you feel the same kind of grief as if your parent died or got divorced. And we don’t often think about the sacrifice of the caregivers who often get attached and then have to give up these children. This project is also our way of honouring the caregivers, whose role is vital.”

Lisa Harewood speaking at the launch of her Barrel Stories Project

Lisa Harewood speaking at the launch of her Barrel Stories Project

The Barrel Stories team has partnered with several organisations to offer members of the public the opportunity to tell their stories. As such, events will be hosted across Barbados, starting at Combermere School on Sunday 12th ¬†April from 9 AM. Interested persons can also visit www.barrelstories.org or contact the project team directly via Facebook…

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