Litany for Survival
Healing Justice Ldn have been working on a research project on loss and bereavement within communities subject to marginalisation. The Litany for Survival team is made up of Dr Ameen Kamlana, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Dr China Mills, Farzana Khan, Joseph Gray, Jos Bitell, Lani Parker, Rose Ziaei, Saara Jaffery-Roberts, and Dr Sara Alsaraf.
This is an excerpt from this research:
In this critical time of changing demographics in Britain(1), we observe new and emerging health care needs, with health provisions often unresponsive to marginalised people and health inequalities persisting. We recognise that knowledge transference between the margins and mainstream is necessary to develop multi-layered approaches for the sustainable, dignified and just healthcare systems we all deserve, We seek to connect strategies and solutions centring equitable participation and democratising research. We ask: how can a framework centring loss and grief investigate and innovate methods of equitable participation, through trauma-informed, somatic practices, research and cultural co-production?
We aim to increase and deepen meaningful participation of marginalised and underrepresented groups in public health. The Marmot Review, 2010(2) concluded that participation in and ownership of health policies by those most affected is key to reducing health inequalities. There is a need to build both individual empowerment and social action, to move beyond individual-level factors and to understand how inequalities intersect. Our work engages in creating a fluency between health institutions and the public to inform how we can transform health care provisions, with the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised reflected in order to serve the whole.
As lived experience leaders in the social sector, cultural producers, and health care practitioners, we witness how marginalised communities experience deep layers of loss and grief for which there is little adequate infrastructure. Our societal narratives are hinged on ideas of loss, mobilised differently by different groups across the social and political spectrum, from a loss of British values, loss of the EU, loss of the NHS, loss of jobs, loss of identity, losing our mind, loss of privilege and power. Media and technology enable us to make new connections and expose us to a loss in entirely new ways. Exposure to multiple trauma, loss and bereavements can result in ’the development of a non-recovery process’ which young people in particular frequently attempt to assuage with problematic self-medication and risk-taking behaviour. Since loss and grief are universal, it presents us a path to make connections across the political spectrum, diverse positionalities, and social groupings.
Litany for Survival Research, June 2019
*A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL references Audre Lorde’s poem and was written during her cancer journey. It is concerned with uplifting those who experience marginalisation. In the poem, marginalised groups emerge and simultaneously empower and restore themselves with a new understanding of personal and social transformation, in the midst of loss and things that can’t survive.
- Marmot, M. Fair society, healthy lives : the Marmot Review : strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010. (2010)