Kanlungan Filipino Consortium

07 October 2020

For many Filipino people living in East London, it can feel lonely being isolated from their families and can sometimes feel overwhelming financially supporting their family back home. Home can often feel very far away, and finding a sense of community can feel very difficult.

We know that access to strong social support structures is hugely important and increases the likelihood of a long and healthy life, whereas little access to quality social support leads to lower quality of life and a higher mortality rate. Curating the mind was a project that drew on the creative arts to address mental wellbeing and isolation faced by many of the Filipino community in East London.

Curating the Mind was the opportunity for people to come together, create social connections and receive support from others who have similar experiences, by working through their emotions and feelings and encourage self-expression and open dialogue, through art and storytelling. Members took part in a range of workshops giving people the chance to open up using personal photographs, videos, objects, storytelling and music to share their memories, worries, or explore experiences and issues that can affect their mental health.

Project member working on a colloborative piece of art

By the end of the project, members felt less alone and had more connections in the community, creating vital lifelines to ease isolation during difficult times. The project worked towards creating art for a local exhibition at Stratford Library, where members would see their work shown in public, often for the first time.

Due to the pandemic, the gallery exhibition was postponed, and the work produced by the project was shown on an online gallery during lockdown. The organisation has since been supporting Filipino members of the community, often front line workers and carers, who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. They have focused on food distribution, raising awareness of the inequalities Filipino people face, and creating a ‘shrine of love’ dedicated to the members of the community who lost their lives in the pandemic.

“The loneliness that I feel is lessened. I realise that I am not alone feeling these emotions. Curating the Mind has been a great help in the lives of Filipino migrants.” Project member.

Kanlungan Filipino Consortium were awarded £22,375 for their ‘Curating the Mind project, which is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery London East.

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2020 Annual Review. To read it in full, click here.


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