Somers Town’s View On Care – Uncut!
“The Birth of Wellbeing” by Sarah Strang, RCGP Artist in Residence
Royal College of General Practitioners
30 Euston Square.
London NW1 2FB Thursday March 27th – Monday April 28th.
You might already know that we are resident suppliers to new conference venue 30 Euston Square. The venue is also the home of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RGCP) and situated in the heart of Somers Town; the area of London which sits to the North of Bloomsbury, South of Camden and between Euston and St. Pancras stations.
It was over a coffee at the RCGP that we met artist Sarah Strang – RCGP Artist in Residence and owner of The Birth of Wellbeing project: a thought-provoking study which unearths uncut insights to the Somers Town community’s concept of care - an area historically renowned for health deprivation but recently declared “an emergent knowledge quarter” and “ripe for investment”.
Sarah said, “An emergent knowledge quarter should be accompanied by an emergent sense of wellbeing. Though the scope of the project does not allow it to be outcome oriented, The Birth of Wellbeing might yet uncover alternative approaches to improving a community’s experience of care.”
Conscious of the fact that we work in this area every day and yet we see and understand so little about the community which lives here, we decided to get involved as sponsors.
The culmination of Sarah’s project opens tonight (March 27th – April 28th) in the form of an exhibition at the RCGP. It aims to visualise the community’s hopes, fears and ideas regarding wellbeing through a series of interviews with local residents and the RCGP. Through photographs, text and uncut video, Sarah addresses the wider topics of community relations, memory and local history.
By putting herself in the rare position of independent mediator between official bodies and institutions and the people whose lives they seek to improve, Sarah attempts to locate specific issues and wider socio-historical considerations that could easily be overlooked in political and medical conversations about care.
To the residents of Somers Town and the RCGP, Sarah asked a series of questions, including this one:
“Why is caring for others both within the doctor’s surgery and the wider community important to our health?”
Look out for answers like this one posted as hoardings surrounding the building site of the new Francis Crick Institute (formerly the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation) which neighbours the RCGP. Inside 30 Euston Square itself you can see Sarah’s Travelling Diary; her video compilation of residents reading aloud a series of responses from members of the RCGP.
Inspired by the RCGP’s collection of portraits of past presidents, Sarah has produced photographic portraits (like the one above) of local residents against a backdrop of Fr. Basil Jellicoe’s portrait - the man behind the community’s first social housing project in 1924 - as a link to Somers Town’s historical past.