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Effect of Migration on Northern Ireland’s Languages Explored in New Exhibition


On Tuesday 5 November, the Linen Hall launched the exhibition From Home to Here: Stories of Languages Old and New. It explores the socio-cultural and linguistic impact on Northern Ireland of its changing population from when the first Celtic speakers arrived to the present day.

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages and From Home to Here highlights the linguistic influences that have arisen from population movements. The exhibition charts the cultural and linguistic challenges faced by migrants and explores the novel changes which newcomer dialects, languages and cultures bring to their host communities.

The potential for significant cultural contributions is woven into From Home to Here by a series of Arpilleras (three dimensional textiles) which form an integral part of the exhibition. These striking pieces have been produced in conflict zones and are on loan from Conflict Textiles, an international collection which has been exhibited all over the world.

The Arpilleras include ‘Life With and Without Bees’, which makes an ecological statement about the dwindling bee population. Its message tallies perfectly with the plight of indigenous endangered languages more than half of which could also become extinct by the year 2100.

Two complementary events are also scheduled:

Civic Conversation – Stories of Languages Old and New: Policy and Practice Challenges (Chaired by Prof. Karen Corrigan, Newcastle University)
Wednesday 20 November/ 4.00pm/ free
This Conversation explores the socio-cultural and linguistic impact on language policies and practices in NI. It will celebrate 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Invited speakers will be experts in the fields of indigenous and community languages as well as practitioners.

Public Lecture (Delivered by Prof. Karen Corrigan, Newcastle University) – From Home to Here: Languages Without Borders
Wednesday 4 December at 1.00pm/ lecture/ free
This talk explores the economic, linguistic and socio-cultural value of twenty-first century newcomers in the light of parallel contributions made by emigrants from the island of Ireland to the major economies of the world from the eighteenth century onwards.

From Home to Here: Stories of Languages Old and New is free to view and runs 5 November – 20 December.

 The Linen Hall Library is open free to the public Monday – Friday 9.30am- 5.30pm. 


Editors’ notes:

Conflict Textiles is home to a large collection of international textiles, exhibitions and associated events, all of which focus on elements of conflict and human rights abuses. Conflict Textiles is an ‘Associated Site’ of CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.
Website: http://cain.ulster.ac.uk/conflicttextiles

For more information about the Year of Indigenous Languages go to: https://en.iyil2019.org/