Interview: Michelle Deignan in Shade



By Emily Franklin

London is recognised worldwide as a multicultural melting pot, and with over 270 nationalities and 300 different languages, it is undeniably fast becoming the home of ethnic pluralism. The term ‘Londoner’ now applies to people of every race and origin, not solely the typecast for Only Fools and Horses. But how often do we stop to think about how London came to be bursting at the seams with diversity? The prospect of assimilating with modern day London society is achievable – the demographic shows us this – but during a less liberal time, how did people manage when hostility met them at every juncture? The answer to this is not only sheer bravery, but also the notion of community.

A new documentary, Breaking Ground: the story of the London Irish Women’s Centre explores the inner workings and undeniable validity of community centres in London. The London Irish Women’s Centre, formerly based in Stoke Newington, played a crucial role in guiding the lives of Irish women in the ’80s; a time of severe racial and sexual discrimination. The director, Michelle Deignan, met with me to discuss the importance and relevance of the film in a modern setting.

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