Friday, October 23, 2015

'Mothers, Daughters, Fathers, Sons – Memories of Childhood'

23 October 2015

On Friday afternoon I was at the Museum of Edinburgh on the Royal Mile to see 'Mothers, Daughters, Fathers, Sons – Memories of Childhood', an intergenerational oral history exhibition that celebrates the heritage of Chinese and South Asian older people and their UK-born family members. This exhibition, by the Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project (MECOPP) as part of the Luminate Festival, consists of pairs of interviews with two people from the same family (Mother/Daughter, Father/Son, Grandmother/Granddaughter etc). Written transcripts of the interviews are presented alongside a selection of family photos. These reflections on childhood explore the difficulties of early life in a variety of countries (including India, Pakistan, Vietnam and China) as well as remembering school, family life and first jobs. It is intriguing to spot the areas of overlap between the reminiscences of the older and younger generations. And it is particularly interesting to read about each family's experience of coming to live in Britain. The exhibition also includes beautiful large photographs of objects that have particular significance to the interviewees (and some of the objects themselves are also on display) – often objects that they have mentioned in their interviews. These photographs are also available as free postcards which visitors to the exhibition can take home. The exhibition involves a lot of reading but the investment of time required is well rewarded: it's a fascinating examination of families, childhood and ageing.

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