The radical and resilient experiences of family making in Lewisham
In/Visible Labour responds to the radical and resilient experiences of collective family making through a programme of audio-visual works by a diverse range of Lewisham communities and their support networks across the borough.
The project will highlight the complex labour of family making and the intersecting experiences of midwives, carers, activists and families by shining a light on the personal histories of Lewisham residents.
The project’s historical focus is the story of Lewisham Hospital’s Maternity Ward. In 2013 the then Conservative government sought to close the ward, alongside the hospital’s A&E department, in an attempt to reduce the hospital’s services and expenditure.
For many people of the borough, this was unacceptable and a campaign to ‘Save Lewisham Hospital’ was launched in response.
Families, health care professionals and others joined in collective action to protest the planned closure, marching through the streets of London with numbers reaching 25,000 people. The marches were occasionally nicknamed the ‘buggy armies’ due to the high number of prams in the protest.
Eventually, a High Court trial ruled in favour of the campaign and these vital community services were saved!
This collective action resulted in progressive relationships between maternity staff and the local community, relationships that continue to impact ongoing campaigns for improved services and support.
In/Visible Labour will ask how this history, alongside those less represented, contributes to the shaping of the borough and its people.
To achieve this, the project will engage local people through a number of creative workshops, film-screenings, food socials and interviews to reflect on a diverse set of stories. Families, support and health networks, and community organisations will all be included in this process.
The project will facilitate the creation of audio-visual works by using the technical and critical expertise offered by Goldsmiths, enabling communities to tell their own stories.
The works will reflect themes of time, generations, and the relationships of the communities of Lewisham that are nurtured through common cause.
An event will be held later in the autumn to showcase these works.
Follow In_Visible_Labour on Instagram for more updates.
Share your memories of Lewisham Hospital’s Maternity Ward and the 2013 campaign to save it.
- Anila Ladwa, Project Lead
- Toyin Adeyinka, Maternity Voices Partnership