We work extensively with contemporary artists, writers and musicians, commissioning new work, hosting residencies, staging exhibitions and initiating projects. Our aim is to bring community groups and practicing artists of all kinds together, facilitating their engagement with the story of the Foundling Hospital through the process of making and exploring art in its broadest sense.
January - March 2016
Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital’s dialysis wards created a collaborative animation, inspired by the Foundling Hospital’s history of medical innovation and Great Ormond Street’s ground-breaking transplant processes. Working with animator Shelly Wain, the children used their own experiences to create an animation that describes the process of dialysis through to a kidney transplant. You can watch the animation here.
Mead's Mysterious Medicines
September - November 2016
Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital's bone marrow transplant and dialysis wards created animations and medicine bottles inspired by the eighteenth-century medical recipes of the Foundling Hospital Governor, Dr Richard Mead. Working with Foundling Museum curator and artist Emma Middleton, and animator Shelly Wain, the children compared the medicines of the past to the present, before inventing their own imaginary medicine using ingredients that addressed their personal experiences of treatment. The works were displayed in our Introductory Gallery and you can watch the animation here.
The Curious Flag
Inspired by the ribbon tokens that mothers left with their babies at the Foundling Hospital, an artist from the Foundling Museum and graduate students from Central Saint Martins worked with members of the local community to create The Curious Flag, a tribute to the future hopes of the local community.
This project was part of the Knowledge Quarter Curious? Futures Festival.
2 February - 3 April 2016
BA Interior & Spatial Design students from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, created dolls’ houses for imaginary pupils of the Foundling Hospital. Children came to live at the Foundling Hospital at the age of five, having spent their early years with a foster family. Inspired by their lack of toys, a traditional home life and a loving family, the dolls’ houses were displayed on the seventeenth-century refectory table in the Museum's Committee Room.
3 November 2015 - 31 January 2016
First year BA Jewellery Design students from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, made jewellery and art in response to the story of the Foundling Hospital, their pieces linked to an object or element of the Hospital’s story. The items covered a range of materials with an equally diverse number of processes. In a first for the Museum, four students were carefully selected to sell their items of jewellery in our Shop.
2 November - 31 December 2015
BA Illustration & Visual Media students from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, made objects in response to the story of the Foundling Hospital and the Museum’s Collection. Their work formed a hand-printed book, displayed in the Museum's Ante Room.
14 November 2014 – 30 January 2015
Using the Museum Collection and Founding Hospital archives as inspiration, eight students and three lecturers from the BA Jewellery Design course at Central Saint Martins developed new work. Each maker produced a creative response that expressed the conflicting feelings the Collection elicits – of abandonment and belonging, uniformity and individuality, the loss of identity and the chance for a new life. As well as an exhibition, two workshops were developed and delivered to two secondary schools in Camden. This project was funded by Share Academy.
Life in Care
Contemporary Stories of Life in Care explores stories of young people in care today. QR Codes are positioned on selected artworks around the Museum - scan them using your smartphone to hear the voices of young people in care talking about issues in their life. These stories have been themed, sitting alongside the story of the foundlings at the Hospital, and explore life in social care past and present.
18 November 2015 - 31 January 2016
In summer 2015, a group of young people aged 15-17 took part in Holborn Community Association's youth film-making project in partnership with the Museum and 1A Arts. Attending scriptwriting, film-making and editing workshops with professional film-makers, the group created a short documentary on the theme of identity, inspired by the Museum’s Collection. This project was funded by BBC Children in Need. Finding Yourself can be viewed online here.
This installation was made in response to the Foundling Hospital school uniforms and young people's experiences of being labelled as a 'child in care' at school. Created by care leavers from Westminster and Ealing with curator and artist Emma Middleton, shirt labels record sentences that teachers and parents said to them during their school life. The installation can be seen in the Museum's Introductory Gallery.
Superman was a Foundling
Award-winning poet and playwright, and 2014 Foundling Fellow, Lemn Sissay MBE has created Superman was a Foundling. Sissay has created a striking visual exploration of fostering and adoption in popular culture through a mural which adorns the Museum Café walls. Sissay's project aims to reveal and elevate fictional stars of popular and classic culture who were fostered, adopted and orphaned. Names range from characters from the foundation myth of Ancient Rome to Steig Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Audible throughout the Museum
Renowned natural history sound recordist and 2014 Handel Foundling Fellow, Chris Watson, worked with young care-leavers recording the sounds of the dawn chorus on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. Inspired by the genetic link today’s birds have with those that sang here for the eighteenth and nineteenth century foundlings, Watson’s installation links past and present through a poetic meditation on the importance of place. Listen out for the sound of birdsong as you wander through the Museum.
Wall of Wishes
Children from Great Ormond Street Hospital have created a wall of wishes. The display was developed as part of a new partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital’s arts programme Go Create!. Inspired by the cockades and tokens that mothers left with their babies when they were admitted to the Foundling Hospital, children created rosettes with their own message of hope or wish for their future.
February 2015 - February 2016
The Museum's inaugural Composer-in-Residence, Luke Styles, led composition and music-making workshops with Year 6 children from Argyle Primary School and with pre-school children from Thomas Coram Nursery. Styles integrated the new music composed and performed in these workshops into a new work, a twenty-first century response to Handel's Foundling Hospital Anthem. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
The Museum runs weekly art and music workshops with children and their parents from Thomas Coram Nursery. These artist-led sessions allow children to experiment and explore through a variety of art activities, from sculpture and instrument making, to drawing and painting. Supported by funds from the Eranda Foundation.