African Women in Healthcare Featured in Bath Hospital Mural
In November, the Young Historians Project commissioned a mural, which celebrates the
contribution African women, have made to the healthcare system. This is displayed in the Royal United Hospital, Bath.
Commissioning Artist Michele Curtis and Nadia Lloyd teamed up to paint the artwork as part of a research project conducted by The Young Historians.
The vibrant mural features African women, past and present who have ties to the Southwest and have made an impact throughout their healthcare careers.
Why was this project commissioned?
The Young Historians Project wanted to uncover a ‘hidden history’ that explored the role that Black women from the African continent have played in the NHS’ history.
Although much discourse exists around the ‘Windrush’ Generation’s relationship to the NHS, the Young Historians Project wanted to mark a renewed discussion around African women specifically, and to look at history pre-Widrush.
This project is the result of a partnership between the Ghana Nurses Association, the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association and the Black Cultural Archives.
Who features on the mural?
The mural features four exciting characters from history and the present day.
Transformation Support Officer Olugbemisola Kolade – A current staff member at Royal United Hospitals Bath, Olugbemisola works as part of the transformation team which manages many different projects within the hospital. This role involves managing people, research and development and policy consulting.
Princess Tsehai Selassie – RUH Bath now has a princess in their presence! Princess Tsehai’s father was exiled from their homeland of Ethiopia. Accompanying her family to the UK, this is where Princess tsehai trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital
Bijou Bidwell – Originally from Sierra Leone, Bijou Bidwell was a prominent nurse and social justice campaigner, including campaigning against Female Genital Mutliation (FGM). She completed her studies at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Hannah Jawara – Hannah Jawara was a social activist, playwright and nurse from Gambia. She trained as a nurse in Edinburgh and co-founded the organisation, Women’s Contemporary Society in 1962, which promoted the education of girls. She wrote two plays, titled The African King and Rebellion.
The Young Historians Project is an organisation founded by a group of young people aged 16-25 committed to developing young historians of African and Caribbean descent. They work on a range of projects which promote the study and restoration of history.
You can find out more about them 👉 here
What can we take away from this commemorative mural?
We can appreciate the contributions of African women in the NHS, whilst also recognising that there is still underrepresentation in the NHS Health service. The Snowy White Peaks report highlighted that in London, a city where 40% of workforce and patients are BAME, 17 out of 40 trusts had all white boards.
Artist Michele Curtis against her mural of Olaudah Equaino, also assisted by Nadia Lloyd, which can be seen at the Old Vic Theatre in Bristol
Before you leave, take 5 mins and reflect on what you’ve learnt from this
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What guidance should you stick to if you are out and about during a heatwave?
Make a note of these reflections to help you on your journey towards your future.