Mr and Mrs Kwok Fong (c) The Sound Agents

Liverpool Family Ties: The Irish Connection -see the film

A new documentary style short film featuring Liverpool’s Irish dual-heritage women was shown at Bluecoat to celebrate St Brigid’s Day (1 Feb 2020, click here for event link). Bridging 2019’s Festival theme of “unique stories, creatively told” and 2020’s theme “exchange”, the documentary asks interviewees to consider their heritage, Irish migration and lived-experience of Liverpool. We can now show you that film.

Commissioned by the Irish Embassy to deliver an event as part of their national programme of St Brigid’s Day events (see online brochure here), the Festival has worked with grassroots documentarists, historians and artists The Sound Agents to create the film. Interviewing community members, they have unearthed fascinating stories about Liverpool, how families came to live here and what they have experienced as a result of their combined -and sometimes conflicting- dual-heritage.

The Sound Agents comprise of John J. Campbell and Moira Kenny; known recording seldom heard stories of everyday life, including The Liverpool Chinatown Oral History, the Chinese Labour Corps, social housing and the domestic effects of World War I on Liverpool.

Using Irish Embassy funding, the Liverpool Irish Festival commissioned The Sound Agents to document dual-heritage stories from women living in Liverpool, identified at the Festival’s dual-heritage day, held at Tate Liverpool (14 Oct 2019). Liverpool Live’s interview, recorded then, is available here: facebook.com/watch/?v=780575865694692 The Sound Agents are currently funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to make a pilot documentary film Then Along Came Lennon: A First Hand Account of Art School Bands.

The Festival developed the day to involve and learn about Black and Irish, Chinese and Irish and Irish diaspora experiences of Liverpool. It was formed by inviting group leaders to participate and invite their networks. Doing so revealed stories of empowerment, race and identity divisions and tales of family, domestic life and celebrations. The documentary collects some of the stories, serving as a stepping stone to future work with these communities. If you are interested in speaking to the Festival about this, please email [email protected] who continue to work on this subject and are open to additional individuals and groups becoming involved.

Liverpool Family Ties: The Irish Connection continues the Festival’s commitment to work about In:Visible Women, with St Brigid’s Day presenting an opportunity to celebrate and empower women. Respected as Ireland’s ‘second saint’ for compassion towards the young, sailors, watermen, scholars and travellers, St Brigid is a ‘taliswoman’ for modern concerns, making her a relevant role model now.

Tickets to Liverpool Family Ties: An Irish Connection are free, but registration is necessary.
Click here to book yours: liverpoolirishfestival.com/events/family-ties/

For more about The Sound Agents: thesoundagents.com/

The image used to promote this event is of Mr Kwok Fong and Mrs Elizabeth Fong (nee Gannon), provided by a family member during the filming of the documentary. It features their first-born grandchild, Roma.

Click here to download press release, complete with editor’s notes.

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