Leaving Grandmother

Husband and wife team, Corine and Benjamin Phipps worked together to capture Ben's experience of migrating to the UK as a child. 

Corine took part in the Windrush Generations Zoom project and was supported in editing the story by the other participants and facilitator.

Corine & Ben Phipps

We asked Corine Phipps to answer a few questions about the process of creating this story...

What stood out to us most about LEAVING GRANDMOTHER is how your film highlights the racism that Black people faced in the 60s and 70s that most people don’t want to discuss or don’t know about: and then links this visually to the current day. Why do you think it is important to highlight this relationship?

It is very important to highlight this relationship because even though there are a lot of legislation since the 60s and 70s to outlaw racism in the UK, these legislations are of no effect because black people are still treated unequally and unfairly in this country and consequently young black people are suffering injustice like the older generation of black people suffered.

A theme that your story touches upon is the tremendous legacy of loss so many in the Caribbean diaspora live with. What was going through your mind as you wrote the story? Was writing it an easy process?

What was going through my mind as I wrote the story for Ben was the pride he had in talking about St Kitts the Island he left to come to this country. Also the emptiness and loss he felt in leaving his grandmother behind. The process was a bit difficult at times because the story was very personal to Ben, especially  when he started talking about his relationship with his grandmother.

Can you tell us anything about some of the specific decisions you made in the project, such as having the racist language pop out or anything else?

I made a number of specific decisions to make the story come to life like choosing specific music to match the mood of the story for example a sad music when he was leaving his grandmother at the ship and a upbeat/happy Music at the end of the story because he was finally going back home to St kitts.

Furthermore, because the racist words had such an effect on Ben when people said them I made the decision to have the words pop out onto the screen to provide a powerful impact.

Also the fading of the picture of his grandmother was to symbolise his returning to St Kitts and happy times.

What has the feedback to this story been like, from those you have chosen to share it with?

Wonderful feedback. Some people have actually said they cried when they watched it because they felt the pain of  Ben leaving his grandmother.

You have told us before that this process helped you to rediscover your love of writing, what do you want to do next?

Write more stories of the life of older people from the Caribbean or other countries who would love to document their experiences leaving their country of birth and settling in the UK.

And where can we experience your writing?

Hopefully via YouTube.

© 2020 by Windrush Generations.

Positive Steps at Brunswick Parish Church