Global Health & Social Medicine students from King’s College London were lucky enough this term to get the opportunity to go on a tour of the Migration Museum Project as the first part on a series of ‘Medical London Excursions’, run by GHSM (open to staff as well as students), and aims to encourage attendees to explore the rich and unique medical and global health history of London through visits to places of interest – and, of course, to get to know each another along the way!
The Migration Museum Project is the UK’s first dedicated museum of migration, and is located at The Workshop at Albert Embankment, London. The project itself tells stories of movement to and from Britain with the use of various media – poetry, photography and art that form timelines, galleries and creative installations that captivated us and our imaginations, despite being from completely different backgrounds. We were taken on a tour of the museum’s current exhibition, ‘No Turning Back: Seven Migration Moments that Changed Britain’, which explores seven turning points in Britain’s migration history. These moments have “brought people together, other moved people apart; all had a profound effect on individuals… and on the country as a whole” according to the museum, and paying a visit is really the only way to experience these significant, if conflicting, events.
As soon as we entered the museum, we were somewhat surprised by the intimate aura which the exhibition possessed; it was immediately apparent that the displays were truly thoughtful in their creation and message as well as their presentation. However, before we could throw ourselves into exploring, we met a lovely lady by the name of Emily Miller, who is Head of Learning and Partnerships at the museum. She sat with us and initiated a group discussion where we spoke about our individual backgrounds and any first impressions we had, before talking us through what each section of the exhibition centred around and advice on how to make the most of our time there.
Once we were let loose into the museum to investigate, it became evident that we were all drawn to different parts of Britain’s migration history; some were enchanted by quotes from those experiencing migration first hand that hung over our heads as we walked from section to section; some couldn’t take their eyes off the headshots of those proudly flaunting their ‘skin Pantone’, (a type of colour space) some of which were the same despite being from completely diverse places.
As a massive fan of rock music, my personal favourite was the Rock Against Racism presentation, which I felt I related with, making me feel more personally connected to Britain’s history of migration. After we converged again in our group, Emily once again guided our discussion surrounding the museum, this time focusing on how we each experienced the information presented to us as well as how vital knowledge about migration is to today’s society.
The museum was extremely insightful, and enjoyed immensely by all that attended the trip. We even had the chance to buy some souvenirs afterwards (all profits of which are invested back into the museum!).
From all of us at King’s College London, we hope that the museum’s future exploits and further projects will be just as incisive as this one – we wait patiently in anticipation!
If you would like to visit the Migration Museum for yourself, donate, or find out more about what they do, please visit their website.
This trip took place on Wednesday 18 October, 2017.
By Amy Ringrose, Global Health and Social Medicine BA, Year 1