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26
DigiCULT
P
EOPLE
'
S
O
WN
M
EMORY AND
S
TORIES
`People don't realise how much material about their
communities is stored away in museums and archives.
When I have gone into community groups and been able
to show them images of the Asian lascars in the Docks
and the Asian suffragettes on the "Moving Here"Website
they get really excited.'
Chandan Mahal, Diversity Manager at the Museum
of London (one of the Moving Here partners)
Many cultural heritage institutions hold records
and collections that are relevant for local or widely
distributed social communities. However, often
people do not realise that such material exists, and
that some archival records and collection items
contain historic traces of their family and of
communities they feel part of. Bringing such
material online and offering various opportunities
to study, use and add personal information and
experiences to records and collection items can
greatly enhance the social relevance of `memory
institutions'. In a way, this means giving memory
back to the people, by stimulating them to think
about social and cultural history, to explore historic
traces related to themselves (e.g. their family or local
environment), and to tell their own stories.This also
includes bypassing to some degree the privilege of
interpretation traditionally held by curators and
historians.
The Moving Here Website wants to attract lifelong
learners, in other words people engaged in learning
outside formal education. In particular, Moving Here
will be of interest to anyone from the Caribbean,
Irish, Jewish and South Asian communities in Eng-
land and beyond. Besides lifelong learners, scholars,
teachers and students will of course find plenty to
discover on the Website.
Moving Here has put in place a mechanism that
allows people to access a wealth of material on the
history of immigration to England, and to contribute
their own stories, whether or not they belong to the
four main migrant communities.The uniqueness of
Moving Here's approach is that it has brought to-
gether material from national and regional organi-
sations, which represent institutional documentation
practices, along with personal stories and images
contributed by users of the Website.This allows for
presenting a richer picture of the history of migra-
tion, also fostering a deeper understanding of what
immigration means for the people themselves. But,
let us first look into the material that has been
digitised for the Moving Here Website.
B
UILDING A
R
ICH
D
IGITAL
R
ESOURCE
M
oving Here draws attention to the wealth
of information available which records the
history of minority ethnic communities before and
after immigrating to England. It does not pretend
to be comprehensive but there is certainly significant
material on the site to merit being called the biggest
online collection of this kind.To date, the Moving
Here catalogue has over 160,000 items (with about
200,000 expected by the end of the project in March
2004), which are digital versions of documents, news-
papers, photographs, maps, objects, sound clips and
videos.
The material digitised in the Moving Here pro-
ject relates to the migration of four communities
Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian. Definitions
of these terms themselves have been difficult to
establish and caused much debate.
Caribbean: communities from former British
Caribbean protectorates - Antigua, Barbados,
Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts-
Nevis-Anguilla, St Lucia, St Vincent,Trinidad,Tobago.
Irish: this includes both Northern and Southern Ireland.
Jewish: primarily covers Eastern Europe (Poland,
Baltic States, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc.) and
*
From: Leaving Gran,
Ta, and Bimshire, story
contributed to Moving
Here by Ms Aishah Bilal,
http://www.movinghere.
org.uk/stories/story11/
story11.htm
*
Digicult_THI5_JS_090104 09.01.2004 14:33 Uhr Seite 26