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, on March 24, 2020, the UK locked down, with the PM stating the UK would have the virus beaten in twelve weeks. London’s Migration Museum is a ray of light and hope.)
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.
London’s Migration Museum, Lewisham
Rachelle Romeo Artist
We Are Lewisham (Borough of Culture, 2022)
Music & SFX
Opening & Closing Credits by Unregistered Master Builder
SFX and extra music from Epidemic Sound
Touching Moments by Ketsa (Free Music Archive)
Mental Health Resources
How to Access Mental Health Services (NHS site)
Mental Health Australia
Only Human Radio Show
Contact details below