Press release

Land Body Ecologies announced as new Wellcome Collection Hub residents

Land Body Ecologies Research Group have been awarded Wellcome Trust’s Hub Award, a 2-year, £1 million residency grant that supports transdisciplinary teams to explore creative and innovative approaches to health research and engagement. 

Land Body Ecologies are a global interdisciplinary network led by award-winning interactive arts studio Invisible Flock. The network includes:

  • Minority Rights Group International, a leading international human rights organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples
  • the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP), a non-governmental organisation based in Kenya that promotes the recognition and identity of Ogiek culture
  • Quicksand, an interdisciplinary design research and innovation consultancy based in India
  • Waria, a cooperative of freelancers and project workers in the fields of culture and media
  • Ayesha Ahmad, Senior Lecturer in Global Health at St George's University of London
  • Sheila Ghelani, an independent and collaborative artist
  • Dr Outi Autti, an Adjunct Professor in Arctic Architecture and Environmental Adaptation at the University of Oulu, Finland.

From October 2021, Land Body Ecologies will occupy The Hub, a space in Wellcome Collection’s building to collaborate with human rights activists, expert communities, mental health researchers, scientists, and artists. Together they will research the phenomenon of solastalgia. A developing field of global health defined as the emotional or existential suffering caused by environmental change, or in more everyday language: “the feeling of homesickness while you are still at home.” 

To ensure the research is anchored within the communities, the project will bring to life a live network of hubs in Northern Europe, Kenya, Uganda, India, and the central London hub at Wellcome Collection. These will support the coming together of local knowledge, perspectives, and lived experiences in the research which is vital as the team seeks to better understand the traumas endured when the lands and ecosystems suffer.

In addition, at the heart of the project will be indigenous communities, including the Ogiek in Kenya, the Sámi in Finland, the Batwa in Uganda, the Pgak’yau (Karen) in Northern Thailand, and communities living in the buffer zones of the Bannerghatta National park in India. Already in relationship with the Land Body Ecologies’ network through previous collaborations, their pioneering work with environmental land rights issues will lead and shape the research.

No two Hub residencies are alike, and LBE is taking us in a fascinating new direction. We’re delighted to welcome them as our first internationally distributed group and to see how their research and engagement work bridges two of Wellcome’s strategic health challenges.

Ken Arnold, Creative Director, Wellcome

The Land Body Ecologies Research Group is the fourth collaborative residency group in Wellcome Collection’s Hub since 2014, and they have been selected by a panel of experts from the science and humanities communities. Previous Hub residents include:

  • Heart n Soul (2018 – 2020), whose project – led by a core team of people with and without learning disabilities and autistic people – sought to explore concepts such as productivity, difference and ‘normality’
  • Created Out of Mind (2016 – 2018), brought together scientists, visual artists and musicians to explore dementia
  • Hubbub (2014 – 2016), brought together a team of scientists, clinicians and public health experts to research rest and its opposites.

Notes to editors 

About the network

  • The Land Body Ecologies Research Group (LBE) works to explore the relationship between mental health and ecosystem health. It is a global interdisciplinary network seeking to understand the traumas endured when the land suffers. 
  • Invisible Flock is an award-winning interactive arts studio based at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park operating at the intersection of art and technology. Through their artist-led practice they create highly sensory installations and environments that ask us to renegotiate our emotional relationship to the natural world. They are an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
  • Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. It works with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.
  • The Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP) is a non-governmental organisation based in Kenya that promotes the recognition and identity of Ogiek culture. It was formed by Ogiek elders, opinion leaders and professionals after long historical injustices that deprived the Ogiek community of their rights.
  • Quicksand is an interdisciplinary design research and innovation consultancy based in India. Their work is driven by an approach that seeks to build on a rich, evocative understanding of people and environments, into meaningful opportunities.
  • Waria is a cooperative of freelancers and project workers in the fields of culture and media. A creative team of professionals consisting of visual artists, graphic designers, educators and curators, providing high quality content and education services to businesses and the public sector.
  • Ayesha Ahmad is a Senior Lecturer in Global Health at St George's University of London, with a PhD in Medical Ethics, specialising in conflict related trauma, transcultural psychiatry and gender based violence in humanitarian settings.
  • Sheila Ghelani works as both an independent and collaborative artist, having made research-led performance work, place-responsive live art, moving image works, and social art projects engaging participants across age and background, in the UK and internationally for over 25 years.
  • Dr Outi Autti is an Adjunct Professor in Arctic Architecture and Environmental Adaptation at the University of Oulu, Finland.

About the selection panel

The selection panel was integrated by Philomena Gibbons, Associate Director Transition and Legacy at Wellcome; Ken Arnold, Creative Director at Wellcome; Sebastian Crutch Clinical and research neuropsychologist, Dementia Research Centre, University, College London Institute of Neurology; Melanie Keen, Director Wellcome Collection; Dr Patricia Kingori, Wellcome Senior Investigator and associate professor in sociology and global health ethics at the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford; Dan O’Connor, Head of Humanities and Social Science, Wellcome Trust; David Proud, Writer, actor, producer, consultant and Wellcome Trust Engagement fellow; and Miranda Wolpert, Head of the Mental Health Programme, Wellcome Trust.

About The Hub at Wellcome Collection 

The Hub at Wellcome Collection is a dynamic transdisciplinary research space where people from different backgrounds and expertise come together on projects exploring science, medicine, life and art. Residents are supported by The Hub Award of up to £1 million which brings researchers and creative professionals together to work as a collaborative residency over a period of up to 2 years. Research undertaken as part of The Hub aims to provide new insights, forms of engagement, methodologies or interventions around a specific topic related to health or medicine.

About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library exploring health and human experience. Its vision is to challenge how we all think and feel about health by connecting science, medicine, life and art. It offers changing curated exhibitions, museum and library collections, public events, in addition to a shop, restaurant and café. Wellcome Collection publishes books on what it means to be human, and collaborates widely to reach broad and diverse audiences, locally and globally.

Wellcome Collection actively develops and preserves collections for current and future audiences and, where possible, offers new narratives about health and the human condition. The museum and library work to engage underrepresented audiences, including deaf, disabled, neurodivergent, and racially minoritised communities.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome which supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases. We are a politically and financially independent foundation. 

About Wellcome 

Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases. 

Contacts 

Juan Sanchez

Media Lead, Wellcome Collection

j.sanchez@wellcome.org

+44 (0)20 7611 9920

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