Voices of Migration & Return Oral Archive

1. What is the background to this resource?

The VMR oral archive and database is comprised of life narrative interviews conducted with over 90 migrants and returnees from Ulster (9-counties) gathered during the course of two recent studies on contemporary migration (since 2004): Narratives of Migration and Return (NMR) (2004-2006), was an all-Ireland study about return migration funded by the HEA North South Programme for Collaborative Research, Strand 1, with research partners at Queen.s University Belfast (QUB), the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies (MCMS), Omagh, University College Cork, and the University of Limerick. Following on from NMR-Ulster, a second study, Northern Ireland Emigrant Narratives (NIEN) (2006-2008), funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and based at QUB and MCMS, aimed at collecting interviews with Northern Ireland (NI) emigrants living abroad, focusing on Britain and Canada, the major destinations of NI emigrants in the 20th century. All interviews were conducted by Dr Johanne Devlin Trew (University of Ulster and an associate of MCMS, formerly of QUB).

2. What is the range and volume of material within this resource?

Interviews averaging 2 hours in length have been conducted with 93 migrants. It is envisaged that further interviews will be added to the collection.

3. What historical period is covered by this resource?

While migration events that occurred from the 1930s through the 2000s are represented in VMR, the emphasis in the collection is on the 1970s decade due to its high emigration rate and the outbreak of the Northern Ireland conflict.

4. What is the geographical coverage of material within this resource?

The interviewees, aged between 32 and 85 years at the time of interview, represent a range of geographic origins within Ulster, class backgrounds and religious denominations. Participants were largely self-selected responding to advertisements placed in a variety of media. To protect confidentiality, interviewees may have chosen to be identified by pseudonyms and surnames are not included.

5. How can I search the material within this resource?

The interviews are fully keyword searchable via the VMR database which provides topical access to individual audio tracks (2-3 minute range) and allows for streaming of the associated audio.