The Sickle Cell Society launch digital exhibition on Sickle Cell at BCA

The Sickle Cell Society launches 2021 with an exploratory exhibition on the history of Sickle Cell, the NHS and the Black British community with Black Cultural Archives.

Our Journey, Our Story: History and Memory of Sickle Cell Anaemia in Britain 1950 – 2020, which launches on the BCA events and exhibitions page on Monday 25 January, unveils the campaign to make sure that Sickle Cell was recognised by medical professionals and how treatment has evolved.

For the first time, the exhibition collects the testimonies and experiences of people living with SCD; photographs and archives about the history of sickle cell campaigning; and original art by Black artists.

Sickle cell disease affects 15,000 people in the UK. People with sickle cell can experience pain, strokes, fatigue and many other symptoms, and it can be life-threatening. SCD was misunderstood by doctors and underfunded for decades.

Against the backdrop of British Black Power, the first black MPs in Parliament, and anti-racist campaigning; patients, families, nurses and doctors campaigned for equitable treatment in the NHS, and better awareness of the condition.

As an illness that was an object of fascination for geneticists and anthropologists as a marker of ‘race’, this exhibition seeks to turn that on its head and present the condition as it is seen, understood and managed by the people affected by it.

Our Journey, Our Story: History and Memory of Sickle Cell Anaemia in Britain 1950 – 2020 will be available online at blackculturalarchives.org from Monday 25 January 2021. This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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