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Shaftesbury Clinic: A Community Engagement Project

"I really enjoyed the chance to contribute something creative. We animated ordinary objects like sugar, tobacco and toys, anything really, to show what life is like here." Participant

The Shaftesbury Clinic is a medium secure facility in Tooting, part of South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust. It provides specialist mental health care for people across 3 wards. The purpose of the unit is rehabilitation and recovery for individuals. 

The Community Learning team at the Horniman worked with six people on the ward and the Occupational Therapy team over 9 sessions in early 2014. 

As participants were not able to leave the unit, we took the museum out to them. They explored objects from the Horniman's handling collection and then started looking at the objects around them in the wards to create their own 'Shaftesbury Clinic Museum'.

Animation and photography

Working with a professional animator, the group created this film and a glimpse into what life is like on the ward through the everyday objects around them.

During the sessions, participants also worked with photographer Lynne Weddle to take beautiful close-up photos of the objects.


Museum Objects and Therapy

Occupational Therapists use a range of techniques to help people set and achieve individual goals to recover and feel well. Museum objects can be used in therapy in a very complimentary way.

Objects inspire curiosity and lead people to explore what is important and interesting to them as individuals. They open up conversations and social interactions, trigger long-forgotten memories and get creative thoughts flowing.

To find out more about the health and wellbeing work the Community Learning team at the Horniman does, contact communitylearning@horniman.ac.uk

With thanks to

  • The Shaftesbury Animators – Benjamin, Bidella, Amanda, Rose, Kumuran and Daniel
  • All the service users in Shaftesbury clinic who have contributed to the project for all the object suggestions and their input at community meetings
  • The Occupational Therapy Team: Sarah Cook, Jasmine Frederick, Denise Webb and Jade Franklin
  • The Forensic Management Team for allowing the project to go ahead
  • Animation Therapy Ltd: Helen Mason, Julia Roberts and Kari Nygaard
  • Photographer Lynn Weddle