18 linen Millie dolls, cut out, made up and individually marked by women from Northern Ireland and Scotland are installed in the windows of R-Space Gallery, Lisburn. Starting a conversation about the millies in our families and how the history of linen links Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Dr John Ennis, Curator Journeys in Design, together with Lynsey Gillespie from PRONI (Public Records Office of Northern Ireland) joined R-Space Curator Robert Martin to welcome Mayor Cllr Hon Nicholas Trimble and Mayoress to R-Space Gallery on Friday 19 June to the installation which recognises the hardworking and talented women who were the backbone of the linen industry.
Dr John Ennis, Curator Journeys in Design said: “It’s a joy to re-engage with the team behind Linen Biennale NI for this latest chapter of Our Linen Stories. In 2020 we’re delving deeper into stories linking the working women of the linen industry in Scotland and Northern Ireland and further afield. We’re ever grateful to Lisburn Museum and though we had to abandon plans to launch our Making Millie project at the Irish Linen Centre in March, we’re looking forward to collaborating again in the months to come.”
“We hope this installation will prompt people to come forward with their stories and memories of the Linen Industry here”
Robert Martin, Curator R-Space Gallery and the Linen Biennale, commented: “R-Space is pleased to host the Making Millie Installation as part of the Our Linen Stories project, which was part of the Linen Biennale Northern Ireland in 2018. We hope this installation will prompt people to come forward with their stories and memories of the Linen Industry here and how it is important that we record that history for future generations.”
The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble, speaking about the Our Linen Stories programme, said: “I had been greatly looking forward to the original programme taking place in our Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, however sadly, the coronavirus has forced a slight change in plans. Regardless, I am delighted see the installation of 18 Millie Dolls here in R-Space Gallery, Lisburn.
Arts and culture are both vitally important to our society and during the pandemic our Arts and Museum teams have been delivering virtual services to help improve our residents mental wellbeing. Having seen how successful we have been I have no doubt that those who take part in the Virtual Our Linen Stories programme will enjoy the experience.”
Lynsey Gillespie from PRONI added: “Almost everyone living here will have a millie in their family history somewhere. I live in a converted mill where three generations of my family worked – and the records are in PRONI for me to explore. You can discover your millie roots too!”
Find out more about the Linen Biennale Northern Ireland on their website.
Read the story behind the Linen Millie project here.