‘Thinking with your hands’ at The Art Workers’ Guild

On the 18th March, King’s Dental Institute was invited to participate once more in the second ‘Thinking with your hands’ event at the historic Art Workers’ Guild, Queen’s Square London.

Past Master of the Guild, artist and potter Prue Cooper together with Professor Roger Kneebone, surgeon and clinical educator from Imperial College who is also a Wellcome engagement Fellow, Director of the Centre for Performance Science at Imperial and is himself a Brother of the Guild and Rachel Warr, theatre director and puppeteer, once again hosted the proceedings.

Through interactions, demonstrations and discussions between many expert craftspeople including jewelers, silversmiths, glass engravers, textile artists, tailors and others who one wouldn’t necessarily expect to find along side them; scientists and surgeons including colorectal surgeons, design engineers, toxicologists, computational biologists, ENT, a plastic surgeon and KCL dentist and clinical teacher, Dr Flora Smyth Zahra, the invited audience of university academics, politicians and Heads of UK Art Institutions were surprised at the many similarities in both the doing and the thinking between these apparently unrelated areas of expertise and with the idea that craftsmanship is equally as important in surgery and science as it is to the Arts.

Textile work by Sonia Tuttiet

‘Diabetic Eye’  by Sonia Tuttiet

The Master’s room this year showcased the work of painter and textile artist Celia Ward and members of East London Textile Arts, notably the work of Sonia Tuttiet. Leading on from their project on diabetes, East London Textiles are now working on a new partnership with the Dental Institute to communicate oral health information about gum disease to adults with learning disabilities in Newham. Dr Zahra was joined in the Master’s room by Zujajah Mirza and Annika Hindocha, both 4th year dental students from the Clinical Humanities programme, to help launch the project which will be fully exhibited in 2018. The students are providing their expertise to the East London Textile Arts project workers who will then be making textiles with groups of adults with learning disabilities. This type of outreach community project is a great example of Clinical Humanities in practice and many of the audience commented on the value of the students’ engagement with the community, sharing their knowledge, reaching out to London and at the same time widening their own learning opportunities.

For more information about the Clinical Humanities programme, please visit the programme’s information page. The London Office thanks Dr Flora Smyth Zahra for her support and this report. 

KCL Hot Chocolate Society

The King’s College London Hot Chocolate Society is a non profit initiative founded by students to extend a helping hand to the homeless community in London, providing essential care and support to the most vulnerable in our local areas. 

KCL Hot Choc Soc

Their work and activity ranges from hosting outreach sessions, approaching rough sleepers with hot drinks, warm clothing, and whatever is requested and is within their means to provide as a means of starting a conversation to hear their stories, to fundraising for positive causes and giving the homeless a voice through their media campaigns.

Since the start of the academic year, the society’s committee have held outreach sessions, with team leaders managing each session, supporting and supervising the other volunteers. Working closely with our local boroughs, they go out primarily in Central London, speaking to homeless people and working with locally based organisations, such as St. John’s Church, Waterloo.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone, and too often, rough sleepers face prejudice and unwarranted stigma. If you’ve ever walked past a rough sleeper and pondered over their situation, I would urge you to take an evening off and give our outreach sessions a try!” – Wei Heng Teo

Throughout the month of March, the Hot Choc Soc are hosting outreach sessions, and they also held a “Hope not Hopeless” Panel discussion as part of this outreach on the 6th March with speakers from London-based charities such as Crisis, Connections at St-Martins, Groundswell, and community funded non-profit movements such as Off The Streets London and Breakfast in a Bag.

HotChoc1

“I think the Hot Chocolate Society matters because university can often seem like an awful lot of privilege, and not much awareness of that fact. I think it matters because by humanising the people in our society whom are simultaneously the most forgotten and most visible, it humanises society as a whole. It matters because we all benefit; that we or they give opinions, tell stories and get problems off our chests, until there’s not a us and them – just people sat on some concrete in the evening talking. Because we’re all people. The hot chocolate is just the conversation starter.”
– Matt Williams

Another highlight of this academic year has been ‘Project Santa’, the society’s annual Christmas drive. Held in KCLSU locations on both the Strand and Guy’s campuses, they collected clothes, toiletries, sanitary products and created care packages to distribute to the homeless, ensuring that they had the essentials for the Christmas period.

“Rough sleepers have the same needs as the rest of the people. We all need someone to talk to about our day and our dreams. Even a smile can change someone’s day.” – Katerina Ageridou 

HotChoc2

If you would like to get involved with the KCL Hot Choc Society, you can join through the KCLSU website or keep up to date with their current projects through Facebook, Twitter and their main website.