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New Collection Published on DRI: Dublin-based Community Films by Joe Lee

DRI is pleased to share news of a new collection published in the Repository: ‘Dublin-based Community Films by Joe Lee’. This collection contains eight films by community filmmaker Joe Lee and has been preserved for long-term access at the following location: https://doi.org/10.7486/DRI.90205r016 All of the films are freely accessible under a CC-BY-NC-ND licence, including high-resolution downloads.

Joe Lee is an independent film and video maker, and one of three recipients of the DRI Community Archive Scheme award 2021. Community archives aim to give visibility to the stories and histories of specific cultures and communities that are often underrepresented in national or regional archives. The eight community-based films in Joe’s collection offer an important social and cultural history of Dublin and are especially relevant in terms of providing a record of oral histories of working-class Dublin communities.

The films now preserved on DRI include Dreams in the Dark (2002), Dark Room (2002), Inside Out Outside In Stories from O’Devaney Gardens (2007), Bananas On The Breadboard (2010), CityWide (2011), The Area (2012), Fortune’s Wheel (2015) and Barracks Square Estate (2017). The films cover a wide range of themes and topics including stories about the origins, traditions, occupations, and housing conditions of communities from various parts of the inner city, as well as darker themes such as community response to the drugs epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. They also explore local myth and human interest stories like the story of older people’s relationship with dance and the city (The Area) and the story of an ordinary young man in 1950s Ireland who had an extraordinary ambition – to become a lion tamer in an international circus (Fortune’s Wheel)! 

Many of these films were made through local regeneration projects or collaborations with artists and community development workers. Funding for the projects came from a mix of local community sources or arts funding and residencies through Dublin City Council and the Arts Council.

The collection ‘Dublin-based Community Films by Joe Lee’ will be of value to anybody with an interest in the contemporary social history of Dublin and will be a rich resource for history and sociology researchers and members of the general public. Visit the Repository to explore this fascinating collection