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Weaving Bitter with the Sweet: The Meaning of Heritage for Refugees

Image of bright textiles in background.  Text "Weaving Bitter With the Sweet."  and "November 12."  Insert pic of two people, a male is Vanxay Saenphimmachak on left-hand side and female on right-hand side. Female is Mone Saenphmmachak
Poster of Lowell Folklife Series
William T. Geiger

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News Release Date: October 28, 2013
Contact: Maggie Holtzberg, 978275-1719
Contact: Phil Lupsiewicz, 978-275-1705

Lowell, Massachusetts.Come join us for a fi­lm, a hands-on experience of weaving, and a facilitated conversation. Mone Saenphmmachak is a master weaver. She is also a Lao refugee, tormented by survivor guilt. Resettled in St. Louis during the 1980s, she ­finds factory seamstress work sewing gun holsters. In her precious spare time, she weaves traditional Lao skirts and teaches the next generation of Laotian children. Winning a National Heritage Award in 1993, Mone ultimately chooses to give up her looms.

Weaving Bitter with the Sweet is a moving documentary film that explores the refugee experience and its impact of sustaining cultural heritage. The fi­lm invites viewers to "unpack" assumptions about the meaning of cultural heritage for refugees -- a topic with the potential to resonate with many re-settled communities here in Lowell.

7:00 p.m. Welcome & introduction

7:15 p.m. Hands-on weaving experience

7:45 p.m. Film screening

8:15 p.m. Facilitated conversation

For information about Teacher Professional Development Points, contact the Tsongas Industrial History Center: TIHC@uml.edu Event is free and open to the public

The Lowell Folklife Series program is free & open to the public at 7:00 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2013, at the Lowell National Historical Park Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John Street, Lowell, MA. For information on the event call Maggie Holtzberg at 978-275-1719. For more information about Lowell National Historical Park visit www.nps.gov/lowe or call 978-970-5000.


Did You Know?

Industrial Canyon, Lowell, MA

Protests came to Lowell in the mid-1830s. Mill management...twice reduced the take-home pay of women workers. Faced with growing inventories and falling prices, owners believed the only way to sustain profits was to cut labor costs. The mill workers were not willing to accept this logic.