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Digital Records of Direct Provision Centres to be Preserved for the Future

Photograph of Camden Hall Hostel, Dublin

Archive founded by former resident of Direct Provision Centre includes almost 6,000 photographs, academic essays, audio interviews, publications and more

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) would like to announce that Asylum Archive is the winner of our Community Archive Scheme and its collections will be digitally preserved for the future. Asylum Archive was founded in 2007 by artist, activist, and scholar Vukašin Nedeljković, a previous resident of a Direct Provision Centre. It includes almost 6,000 digital objects including photographs, academic essays, and audio interviews.

Nedeljković commented on the significance of winning the Award, which provides free associate membership to DRI for a year:

I applied for the Community Archive Award as I would like to preserve and make accessible the visual and written material from Asylum Archive—an Archive of Asylum and Direct Provision—to wider audiences and for future generations. This way, we will never forget the treatment of the people who came to Ireland to seek international protection. I am truly delighted that Asylum Archive will be archived within Digital Repository of Ireland.

We asked him to highlight just a couple of items from the collection. The first image depicts the exterior of Lissywollen Accommodation Centre, Athlone, and was taken in 2013:

The second, a bleak image of a Christmas tree from the interior of The Old Convent, Ballyhaunis, is from a set taken between 2007 and 2009:

Nedeljković explained his choice:

These photographs from the Asylum Archive represent some of Direct Provision Centres, the carceral institutions of our time, both from the outside—as architectures of confinement—and the inside.

Speaking to the newly published collection, Director of DRI Natalie Harrower said:

Vukašin Nedeljković has devoted an incredible amount of time and effort to creating the Asylum Archive, and to documenting aspects of Direct Provision in Ireland. As a previous resident in Direct Provision, he provides a particular viewpoint on the buildings and objects that populate centres around the country. Cross-border migration, individual experiences, and the systems and difficulties that surround migration are key issues in our current age, and as an organisation committed to preserving Ireland’s social and cultural record, the Digital Repository of Ireland welcomes the addition of this rich and challenging archive. Aspects of the archive have been displayed in dozens of solo or group exhibitions around Ireland and abroad, and Nedeljković has presented his work at over a hundred conferences, panels, lectures, or publications over the last decade. The award-winning archive is freely available through a website; by depositing it with the DRI, we can ensure its long term preservation, as well as its discovery by researchers and the wider public.

We’re also very happy to give a special mention to the Frameworks Media and Archive Centre, and look forward to preserving their wonderful collection of short films on a broad range of engaging topics.

As mentioned above, Cork-based organisation Frameworks Media and Archive Centre was also recognised in the Community Archive Award competition and will have one of its collections digitally preserved in DRI. Speaking on behalf of the not-for-profit organisation, Emma Bowell commented:

We are delighted to be given a special mention this year and with the offer to preserve the twelve short films produced as part of Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture. This means that the stories told by Cork communities in this Cork WideScreen Project, which are an important part of Cork’s cultural and social history, will now be preserved for future generations. 

Over the coming months, the Asylum Archive and Frameworks collections will be published in the Digital Repository. Watch this space for these crucial additions to DRI’s wide array of digitally-preserved materials.

(Main photograph: Camden Hall Hostel, Dublin, 2012-2014)