Out of the Darkness: A Community led Art Psychotherapy Response to the Grenfell Tower Fire

Susan Rudnik

Abstract


“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

 

Emily Dickinson No.254 (1861)

 

This short report is an attempt to bring into light the art therapy response following the Grenfell Tower fire on the 14th June 2017. This terrible tragedy was the worst fire in London’s history with a reported 72 deaths (one of whom died 6 months after the fire having never left hospital), 18 of the victims were children. The fire began on the 4th floor of the tower and spread ferociously through the building, aided by the exterior cladding that has now been identified as well below the necessary fire safety standards. There remains an on-going, complex inquiry into the causes and events that led to the fire, with major failings being uncovered in the building as well as the fire access to the block. While this stream of seemingly new evidence emerges to the outrage of the public, the community have known about these failings for years. The Grenfell Action Group[1] actively complaining about the shoddy workmanship and the unsafe refurbishment since 2012. They were not only ignored but also bullied and threatened with eviction by authorities. Ten months after the tragedy this disregard continues as many families remain in hotels and temporary accommodation as the painful fight for Justice continues.

[1] https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

 


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