Watch: Extraordinary project tells stories of divided border communities

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  • by Kevin Mullan

An extraordinary storytelling project called ‘Border Lives’ concludes filming in St Johnston next week.

The project has recorded aspects of lives and experiences along the border region of Northern Ireland during the years of the troubles right up to the present day.

Over the past year six films focusing on different locations along the border have been produced. Watch (above) a preview of one of the completed films.

The Sentinel hopes to bring you the project’s footage from the Londonderry border as soon as it can.

One of the films focuses on Londonderry’s border with Donegal, particularly around the Laggan areas of Burnfoot, St Johnston and Monreagh. Another looks at the Castlederg, Victoria Bridge, Lifford and Strabane area.

Project Officer, Sarah Bryden, said: “The most important part of this project are the people who we talk to and each film will be shaped by the individuals who take part.

“The stories we’ve heard and filmed already have been fascinating and really give a sense of the uniqueness of life along the border.

“This project will be of the highest quality, not only technically, but ethically. We are collaborating with a production company specifically skilled in handling personal stories responsibly.

“The team have spent a lot of time speaking to communities and ensuring that we approach these films sensitively and honestly.”

The impressive project is one of a number archiving the experiences of people living in what has been since its institutions a divisive and controversial boundary.

Hundreds of families and communities, not least in the Laggan, were cut off in administrative terms from their counterparts in Londonderry.

The Border Lives project is run by Tyrone Donegal Partnership and funded by the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the Community Relations Council/Pobal Consortium.

Last month the Sentinel reported on another peace and reconciliation project headquartered in Monaghan, which is also creating an archive to document the experience of people living along the border during the Troubles.

The Border Roads to Memories and Reconciliation Project facilitates a forum for residents, communities and victims to recollect and share their experiences as a direct result of border road closures.

Visit the very impressive Border Lives project website for more information.




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