An immersive new virtual reality film featuring the voices and experiences of people who live on or near the Border was launched last week.

Created as part of the Making the Future project, the unique film is the output of a community engagement programme that invited people to share sights, sounds and stories of life in Border areas.

Artists who chose the Fermanagh Border included Florence Creighton (Fermanagh), Fintan McPhillips (Monaghan) Francis McCarron (Monaghan) and Mary Conefrey (Leitrim).

The film will be launched by the Making the Future project as part of Good Relations Week 2021, and has been supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The programme was delivered by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) throughout spring and summer, with participants developing skills in sound recording and creative writing, while also gaining an understanding of PRONI’s archives and how they are used to preserve and examine shared history.

The group then received their own virtual reality kit in the post and learned how virtual reality can be used as a modern-day storytelling tool.

Through the programme they were invited to select a meaningful location on or near the Border, to write a haiku poem about it, and to record sounds associated with the place.

In addition, 360-degree images of each of the locations were captured and pinpointed on an interactive map with the recorded stories and sounds providing a bespoke soundtrack to each location.

The completed film is a snapshot of different lived experiences from people along the 310-mile Border, including Fermanagh, and reflects locations and memories important to each contributor.

Margaret Masaba, from Strabane, who took part in the project, said, “It was such an amazing experience to take part in this project. I’ve met wonderful people who have taken me through a journey of virtual reality which I knew nothing about.

“The highlight of the project is that we get to share the sounds of everyday life at the Border and to share our stories.”

Laura Aguiar, Community Engagement Officer and Creative Producer, who led the project, said: “It has been a real privilege to engage with these stories of life near and on the Border and to make them accessible in such a collaborative and immersive way.

“The haikus and sounds created by our wonderful participants will give audiences a plural snapshot of everyday life on both sides of this invisible border."

Lynsey Gillespie, Curator at PRONI, said: "PRONI is delighted to work with rural communities and the Rural Community Network. Capturing stories about life along the Border helps to ensure that the heritage of our place is documented in full for researchers of the future and that PRONI represents as many people as possible."

The programme was also delivered in partnership with the Rural Community Network to ensure people from remote Border areas had a chance to take part.

The Border Sounds film and accompanying website featuring a traditional interactive map of each of the locations was launched via Making the Future’s website last Saturday, September 25.

You can learn more about the project at the site, at