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Public Health Core Course: Long Study Tour (Part II): Migration Museum, Brixton, and Bookshops

Hej! How are you all doing? It is almost departure time here at DIS Stockholm, and it feels like yesterday when I wrote my first ever DIS blog post. I am feeling bittersweet about leaving Stockholm and seeing my family. Things are also wrapping up, with final papers, presentations, showcases, and course evaluations all underway. With that said, shall we dive into some precious memories from my long study tour (LST) in London?

During our LST, my public health core course had two group visits and
related projects. It was an incredibly fun time exploring the cit and learning about migration in London.

Migration Museum

Leaving the hotel on our second day in London, we travelled as groups via bus and the Docklands Railway to the Migration Museum in Lewisham Shopping Center. We later learned from a staff person at the museum, which was in charge of educational programs, the significance of the museum’s location – to meet the public where they are instead of having them go out of their way to visit the museum. I think the setting of the museums further highlighted how integrated migration is in London and the UK, a theme recurring in the exhibition, “Taking Care of Business: Migrant Entrepreneurs and the Making of Modern Britain”. Entrepreneurship is a common way for migrants to make a living and support their families in a society where, perhaps, they don’t speak the language fluently, their educational qualifications are often unrecognized, and they face barriers to entering the labour market. Food, restaurants, and takeouts are significant parts of our daily lives. The exhibition highlighted the migration stories behind restaurants. It prompted visitors to reflect on how connected to migration they are and how they benefit from the hard work and innovations of many migrant entrepreneurs daily.


Later in the week, we set out in small groups to visit neighbourhoods in London highly influenced by migration, investigate how migration impacts the area, and observe the social determinants of health there. My group visited Brixton and spent half a day walking around the neighbourhood. We talked to some reception staff at an office building leasing to public interest organizations and learned about the backlog in the National Health Services.
What struck me the most were the street art in the area, the food and community, and the silent gentrification. Often, I would not spend time observing and paying attention to graffiti, but in this exercise, my group and I got the opportunity to seek them out. And I am grateful for the opportunity, for I saw the hopes and dreams of the community painted in vibrant colours.
We also got to walk through the food market, observe the residents’ day-to-day lives, and even try food from one of the food trucks. Needless to say, it was delicious.
When we wanted to bring our food into the Brixton Pop-up Food and Event space near the food truck, we were stopped by the guard who told us that outside food and drinks were not allowed. Although it was completely understandable, I can’t help but ponder who is the intended audience of the pop-up entertainment and food space.


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