Drawing on the Museum’s history of social arts activism, this programme raises awareness around health and wellbeing to address current inequalities.

Our approach

Our art projects explore how our historic story of care still resonates today by addressing stigma and supporting mental health. We do this by working holistically, establishing collaborations with local health and community partners. In addition to our programme of artist-led workshops, we participate in a variety of arts and health initiatives including Creative Health City, exploring how the health, social care and cultural sectors can work together to tackle health inequalities across London.

Coborn Centre for Adolescent Mental Health

In early 2024 we began working on a pilot project with the Coborn Centre for Adolescent Mental Health in Newham, an inpatient service for young people with complex and severe mental health difficulties. Artist Nicole Morris facilitated a series of eight creative workshops in which participants were encouraged to use art to explore the Foundling Museum’s story of care, displacement and identity. The first iteration of this project ran from late January until late March 2024.

Mind in Camden

Since 2021 we have been working with Mind in Camden’s Healthy Minds Community Programme on art projects that support mental health through creativity and working together, taking inspiration from the Museum’s story of care and social activism.

Artist Katriona Beales led on a series of projects in 2021-22. Love~in~Knots took inspiration from the ribbons in our tokens collection, which are symbols of love and affection. Worn & Re-Worn looked at the fabric tokens to explore personal patterns and motifs. These projects interlaced traditional craft-based techniques with digital scanning and image-making, transforming materials and adding layers of meaning.

A third project with Katriona Beales, Emblems For the Future, drew on the Foundling Hospital’s emblem designed by William Hogarth to develop the group’s own emblems, creating a collaborative limited-edition print of unique symbols.

In Autumn 2022, artist Charlene Sandy led on The Fabric of Things, introducing hands-on processes used in the pre-industrial revolution period, such as paper-making, weaving and natural dyeing. The project went back to basics – learning how things are made and working with the idea of “using what you’ve got”. Sandy also led on a further project in 2023. Narrative Threads: Stitching Stories introduced participants to stitching and image-transfer processes, to develop a body of work drawing on source imagery that ranged from personal photographs to objects encountered in the Museum.

The latest iteration of our Mind creative project took place from January-March 2024, led by artist Nicole Morris. The sessions culminated in an exhibition of participant work, Filling Gaps, on view at the Museum.

This has been the highlight of the last five years for me.
Mind member

Home-Start Camden & Islington

In Spring 2023 we launched a new programme in partnership with Home-Start Camden & Islington to deliver a parental care project to support the mental health of families with children under 5.

Working with artist Laura X Carle, a 6-week project brought together local families to connect with others through making. The project drew inspiration from the pioneering role women played in establishing the Foundling Hospital, and made connections with our exhibition Finding Family to explore how motherhood is celebrated within culture. The participants were encouraged to look at their own experience of family and parenthood through sensory exploration and play using a range of materials and processes.

We produced a second iteration of the project took in autumn 2023, and Laura will lead on a new project with Home-Start in spring 2024.

Every Wednesday made my week, inspired me, made me more positive.
Home-Start member