Resident, a new audio documentary which premiered July 13, will explore the experiences of immigrants in Ireland, reflecting on identity, culture and beyond.
The production will consist of ten parts, with each episode focusing on the story of a different immigrant, delving into “the unique personal histories that led them here and what home means to them today.” The series also reckons with what Covid means for the experiences of immigrants and minority communities, as Resident was recorded in 2021.
“From the start, our goal was for our contributors to tell their stories in their own words,” said co-producer and sound editor Rob Flynn in a press release. “Through their compelling interviews, we learned how the cultures they came from shaped who they are, as well as what their experiences in Ireland could reveal to us about our own society.”
In a trailer for the podcast, the voices of the different people who tell their stories express a variety of sentiments – fear at going to a new place with a different and unknown language, certainty about leaving a homeland, lack of stability, shock at sudden crisis, and beyond.
“I’m just a citizen of the world, let’s just put it that way,” one voice says in the trailer.
Another remembers, “I looked around and I was like, okay, now we have something in common, all of us, now we are all Irish.”
One of the stories the production will explore is that of Pradeep Mahadeshwar, a gay visual artist and activist, as well as past GCN writer and cover star. Mahadeshwar moved from India to Ireland in order to find more acceptance and protection of his sexuality, he said in Proud AF, an initiative by the Gay Project to address racism among GBTQ+ men.
“It was my first preference to come to this country from India, but what I’m seeing is that queer culture here is not that open and broad,” he said. “I go to any queer space and people judge me because of my skin tone or my nationality, and that makes me feel not welcome at the gay scene or queer scene – especially on the dating scene.”
Mahadeshwar has done a variety of work beyond Proud AF around what it means to be an Asian queer person in Ireland.
He spoke to GCN about this intersection of identity during an interview about a film he created while in lockdown, back in 2020. “As a queer person of colour, I can say that living in Dublin can be challenging at times. The gay scene is pretty hard for people of Asian origin,” he said. “I don’t have any family support as such, but I have got a small but reliable support system here.”
The artist has also interviewed others about their experiences being LGBTQ+ Asian people in Ireland, most of them also immigrants, in a series for GCN. These conversations touched on objectification, mental health, inclusion, diversity and sexual racism, a subject on which Mahadeshwar has written often.
“Predetermined notions of attractiveness and beauty force Asian QPOC into the trauma of loneliness 24 x 365,” he wrote in a piece from last summer. He continued with the observation that, though many LGBTQ+ people immigrate to places like Ireland in search of acceptance and community, “when they arrive here, they witness no place for them in the queer culture.”
Mahadeshwar may well continue exploring the frustrating realities of sexual racism in his part of Resident. The production’s new episodes can be heard at 8:30pm Wednesday evenings on 103.2 Dublin City FM, where the first episode premiered this week. Fans can also access Resident on demand through podcast platforms, which will host each episode starting the day after it airs.
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