Hear about Shona’s da’s story; learn about the highland clearances, the 10-pound poms, and how people fashion intimate connections and meaning in countries far from their place of birth; and travel through 400 years of UK Departures and Arrivals. (Two years ago today, the UK locked down.)
Dear Migration Museum,
Hope you’re well.
Just a note to let you know that I loved volunteering with you and it was really important to me. I know it might sound a little strange, saying that, given I wasn’t there too long, but you’re just such a brilliant place. (I know I don’t have to tell you that.)
When I first visited you as a punter, it hadn’t struck me before that I was a migrant. I’d grown up with so much UK media (mostly BBC productions on the ABC), and even now, the UK is presented as ‘the same’ as Australia; that we both understand each other’s cultures perfectly. Again, I don’t have to tell you this, but that’s not true. The difficulty in navigating London is that it’s all so similar, but there’s a tilt that makes everything awkward, more confusing and difficult, and it’s just askew enough to discombobulate me without my being able to put my finger on anything specific. Shona and I both knew going in we were travelling to the belly of the Colonial Beast, but I didn’t realise how ingrained that thinking is; how colonialism is celebrated in so many contexts without any reflection; and how the idea of ‘born-to-rule’ permeates. (But of course, you give us the other perspectives and stories.)
When I first approached you about volunteering I was suffering anxiety. I’d never had this before, and was having anxiety attacks — I didn’t know what was going on. I ended up working with a counsellor. Covid in London broke me. At the time the MM was perfect. So open and generous and caring.
Could you please let everyone I worked with know I really valued meeting them and enjoyed my time there. One regret is that I didn’t get to be part of the MM for longer and get to know each of you better.
Take care and stay safe.
Twitter & Instagram: @LDNbylockdown
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