New VR film journeys through Border region

‘Border Sounds’ is a journey of the border told through the voices of people who live there

An immersive new virtual reality film featuring the voices and experiences of people who live on or near the border in Ireland will be launched this 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.

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) and Nerve Centre throughout the spring and summer of 2021, 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 in Ireland, to write a haiku poem about it and to record sounds associated with the place.

360° 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, and reflects locations and memories important to each contributor.

Laura Aguiar, Community Engagement Officer and Creative Producer, who led the project, explained: “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, added: “Capturing stories about life along the Irish border helps 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 will be launched via Making the Future’s website ( on Saturday, September 25.