Kate Osmond studied Anthropology as an undergraduate at University College London. Between 2016 and 2019 she volunteered and conducted research at Room to Heal, a community organisation in Islington who offer support and refuge to people who have had to flee persecution, torture and indefinite detention. You can read more about her research on their blog.

‘Room to Heal’

“My dissertation research focused on a charity called Room to Heal which gives practical and therapeutic support to refugees and asylum seekers who have experienced human rights abuses and torture. The charity’s therapeutic model involves the weekly use of a Community Garden.

I wanted to investigate the significance of this garden to Room to Heal, so I completed participant observation and individual interviews with the charity over an extended period of time. My research findings revealed that the garden’s sensorial dimensions made it a restorative place in which to spend time. I found that members of the charity gained significant therapeutic benefits from engaging with the garden through cooking and gardening. I concluded that the necessity of the garden as a therapeutic landscape was essential in a political climate where hostility is directed towards immigrants.

Two of these illustrations were taken from my dissertation, and feature quotes about the garden from staff and members of Room to Heal. I produced the final illustration more recently.  Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the charity are unable to use the garden, forcing them to rely upon online forms of communication and therapy, like video calls, to support vulnerable individuals in crisis.”