This is the trailer for "Breaking Ground: the story of the London Irish Women's Centre" a 60 minute documentary directed by Michelle Deignan and produced by Toy Factory Films.
The London Irish Women's Centre was a radical organisation founded in the early 80's by some exceptional Irish women, to represent and support generations of Irish women in London. What was remarkable about the women involved was their commitment to creating an alternative cultural and political space for women to be Irish. They openly discussed and made public issues pertinent to both women in Ireland and Irish women in London against a backdrop of anti-Irish racism from within the UK and at best indifference from the mainstream Irish community in London.
Throughout the 80's Irish women arrived in London in their droves and towards the end of the decade they made up 10% of the capital's female population. Many of these women were not simply economic migrants but women in search of an alternative life, away from the repressive predominately Catholic culture of Ireland. Their optimism for a new life was tempered by the reality of life in London. Irish women were among the most disadvantaged ethnic and gender groups in terms of housing and employment. What the London Irish Women's Centre did was tackle inequalities and difficulties for Irish women in London by both actively agitating for change and providing practical services to support Irish women to live daily lives.
The documentary film charts the context within which the organisation began in 1983 and it's work over the next 29 years up until it's closure in 2012. There are 18 interviewees in the film all representing different times, situations and perspectives on the centre. Archive footage, photographs and records of the organisation, give a unique sense of this alternative Irish culture in London. The documentary's narrative is driven by some fantastic music produced by women, a total of 30 different music tracks in all, from 80's folk to traditional Irish performances and contemporary electronica. Breaking Ground has been produced by an all female crew and is being released in 2013.