Rebecca MacKenzie-Hopkins, Public Programs Manager | Gestionnaire de la programmation publique
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 | Musée canadien de l’immigration du Quai 21
“I love this museum because it has the historical piece of being within the actual site of immigration and the site of departure for troops in World War II. So that honouring of the historical place is really significant. But when I started working here, it was just after the museum went national, and so when I used to come here as a young adult, it was really all about Pier 21 as a site. But then it expanded into being about this larger context of Canadian immigration. I do not think I was prepared for how much I would love that juxtaposition – like, not just the historical but also the ongoing. I mean, we do not technically talk about current events, but we go very close to current times and so those current events are kind of there. And I find that the interconnection between how things are framed now when it comes to immigration and refugees, and how they have been framed in the past is really interesting ,and I think is really necessary for people to see those connections because there are a lot of people who will say, you know, the tropes about refugees today or immigrants today are not the same as immigrants and refugees in the past. But the reality is that people said that about those immigrants and refugees at those times as well going all the way back to the Irish potato famine.” Rebecca MacKenzie-Hopkins
In honour of Filipino heritage month, a new commemorative month in Canada, Rebecca organized an event that was held at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. The event included a film presentation and a panel with the Filipino film makers and movie subjects from Labrador. It also included choir and dance performances, an artist’s installation as well as authentic food to taste, which was all created and performed by the local Haligonian Filipino community.
Rebecca recognized the event would be more powerful if various modes of communication could help to express elements of Filipino culture in the Canadian context. According to Halliday’s (1978) theorization of the social functions of language, “a mode is understood as an outcome of the cultural shaping of a material. The resources come to display regularities through the ways in which people use them. In other words, in a specific context (time and place) modes are shaped by the daily social interaction of people” (pg. 22). This compilation of various modes (oral, visual, spatial, gestural, etc) as a reflection of Filipino heritage worked together with the social interaction of attendees to fully immerse the makers and the audience in understanding and articulating important elements of culture, thus reflecting that language is always socially situated. Listen below to Rebecca describe the synergy of this event.
Check out this link to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 | Musée canadien de l’immigration du Quai 21 available in English and French: https://pier21.ca/