“We do not understand who we are until we tell our own stories to ourselves.” – Staurt Hall
Éireann and I is a collaborative project that sources, contextualizes, and chronicles the experience of Black migrants in Ireland.
This project is part of a growing movement of grassroots efforts from marginalized communities to collect and make accessible our own experiences outside of traditional archival institutions. The traditional archive is a colonial institution that has often functioned to exclude or write-out marginalized others from history – where we are included our narratives are shaped by people who do not share our experiences. As a direct response, we are positioning this repository as an alternative space for our communities to explore memory and history as shared collective experiences.
The Black diaspora in Ireland makes up a fairly small percentage of the larger diaspora worldwide, but over the last few decades, people here have documented friends, families, and communities while navigating Black postcolonial identities in a state that is still defining its own postcolonial identity. In Ireland, many of us have been both mobilized and displaced by processes of migration, marginalisation, and institutionalisation. We navigate the facets of Blackness, citizenship, and identity either in combination or separately while creating and nourishing our own families, communities, cultures. The material you see here has been sourced through collaboration with individuals, groups, and communities and serves to answer the question “what do our experiences look like when collected, contextualised, and preserved by and for ourselves?”
- This archive is built through the accounts of Black migrants and members of the Black diaspora in Ireland. It documents stories of community, culture-building, and activism and seeks to collaborate with our community in order to transform history-making and record-keeping into processes that are radically inclusive and accountable.
- This archive is a repository for both the personal and the political. We acknowledge that the archive can and should be a resource for political education as well as a practice that is rehabilitative and restorative.
- Although our experiences are varied, a majority of the material we have accumulated so far directly deals with grassroots political actions that respond to Direct Provision, state deportations, and the 27th Amendment, access to healthcare, and media portrayal. We believe that it is important that these narratives are preserved by those who experience them. We position ourselves in support of all anti-racist organising efforts and prioritize preserving the work that other organisers do here.
- This archive has been built and curated on a voluntary basis, and materials are sourced through submission or participation. It centers memory as a public and collective resource so remains free to access and open for contributions at any point in time.
- Overall, this project is a direct call and response to the community work and culture-building taking place by us and for us daily. This repository serves as a creative and dynamic resource wherein we are empowered to play a direct role in knowledge creation and preservation as our diaspora forms. We hope to create a space where we can make collective decisions about what is valuable for preservation, shape a collective memory of our experiences, and control the means by which stories of our past and present are constructed.