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Moving Hearts, London

Moving Hearts - London

Moving Hearts was an iteration of Connecting Hearts conducted in collaborative with Professor Anna Reading and Dr James Bjork of King’s College London. Moving Hearts explored Londoners’ experiences of migration and understanding of belonging through 21 heart-making workshops in 21 days, a ‘heart’ procession, and an installation and forum held at the Migration Museum. It took place over a six week period in February and March 2018.

Workshop participants made 1000 human hearts from clay and inscribed them with messages. The hearts were fired, wrapped in cloth and then carried by hand in a procession across From King’s College Strand campus along the Thames to the Migration Museum. At a shared open space below the Museum, the hearts were formed into a spiral. Visitors were invited to walk the spiral, choose a heart to unwrap and to write their own messages about memories of migration and belonging. 

Erected near the spiral was Intent, a tent structure made up of messages from Australia that sat in dialogue with those being created in London. Upstairs in the Migration Museum proper, the video Beached was screened, and an afternoon forum was held to discuss the event and broader issues of migration and belonging in the context of Brexit.

Moving Hearts has generated ongoing work. 500 hearts have been retained by the Museum for future installations at the Museum and at King’s College (where one has already occurred). A number of academic articles have been written and are expected to be published over the coming year. These include: ‘Moving Hearts: How Mnemonic Labour (Trans) Forms Mnemonic Capital’ by Anna Reading for a forthcoming themed issue of Memory Studies on Cultural Memory Forms; an article by Jack Hanlon, provisionally titled ‘Humanising Representations: Negotiating the Representation of Migrants and Migration in Pro-Migrant Art, Advocacy and Journalism’, that discusses Moving Hearts in a broader context; an article by Aleksandra Kubica that explores the process of collaboration between King’s College, the Migration Museum and the artist. 

The project was supported by ClayTime, a pottery cooperative which supplied the clay and fired the hearts. Funding for the project was provided by the PlusAlliance, an initiative of three universities (King’s College London, UNSW and Arizona State). Click here for the video of the project made by the PlusAlliance.