Kiln Theatre has announced the exhibition A Thousand Hands: Legacies and Futures of Care in Brent as part of the two-year long project A Friendly Society supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the national lottery players.
Curated by Brent-based Rachel Dedman, it celebrates how different communities have cared for one another across the years and some of the challenges they have faced. From the 19th Century to today, it tells the story of activism, the arts, The Foresters Friendly Society and the history of the NHS and nursing in Brent – with some extra surprises.
As part of the exhibition, Kiln Theatre will deliver a series of workshops to over 500 primary school children in Brent and their teachers to help them develop skills around using museums, exhibition and archives using an interactive performance. Follow up workshops, led in class by Kiln Theatre practitioners will focus on the local history of care and migration.
The exhibition is now on display at The Brent Museum and Archive and is free and open to everyone. The official launch takes place on Tuesday 4 December from 6pm.
Creative Learning Manager: Heritage and Community, Nick Gibson said today, “We are delighted to open A Thousand Hands, which is one of Kiln Theatre’s A Friendly Society’s flagship projects. The exhibition unearths vital stories of care, migration and how different communities in Brent have looked after each other, often in the face of adversity. It also asks crucial questions about what care means today in contemporary Britain. We are incredibly grateful to Rachel Dedman for her work on this project as well as the vital support from Brent Museum and Archives, Heritage Lottery Fund and the national lottery players.”
Curator, Rachel Dedman added, “Exploring the interrelated histories of care and migration in Brent has been a real privilege. Not only has the material – drawn predominantly from the publically-accessible Brent Museum and Archives – revealed rich local narratives, it has also generated reflection on the broader political significance and role of care in Britain today. At a time of increasingly fearful and repressive approaches to immigration; when the Windrush generation is still fighting for their rights; when NHS staff are overstretched and underpaid; and mass activism unites people for political change – to care for others can be seen as a radical act. Valuing care in all its forms, alongside the fundamental presence of migrant communities in Brent and in Britain, is more urgent today than ever.”