A programme of art, architecture and infrastructure to mark the centenary of the UK’s biggest council housing estate

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New Town Culture Podcast 3

Celebrations and Ceremonies (Making Moments Matter)

First broadcast November 2021

Picture this: an artist invites each person in a group of seventeen unaccompanied asylum seeker children to make a model of an animal and to teach the whole group the name of the animal in their mother tongue. Each child performs this word to camera and the film is watched together by the group. This is a ceremony that celebrates their many languages, and indirectly their journeys and cultural heritage.

Social workers Gemma James and Christine McGeary and artists Nicole Morris and Albert Potrony ask: can ceremony and celebration become a positive tool in social care practice?

Birthday parties, awards ceremonies and other life milestones are of course important but smaller interventions can be used in our daily work with young people. Sharing words to describe our feelings when we meet, drawing a picture together, preparing a snack, watching birds in a tree. What can be the impact of these celebration and ceremonies in our relationships?

New Town Culture is a programme of artistic and cultural activity taking place in adult and children’s social care and curated by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Funded by the GLA’s Young Londoners Fund, the MOPAC Violence Reduction Unit, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The podcast was created by artist Hannah Kemp-Welch.

Photograph of the Becontree Estate in East London.