Heart of the Nation shortlisted for Museums + Heritage Awards Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year

Our Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS exhibition has been shortlisted for the Museums + Heritage Awards Temporary or Touring Exhibition of the Year.

Heart of the Nation is a national touring exhibition from the Migration Museum shining a light on the stories and experiences of people who have come to Britain to work in the NHS through photography, film, oral histories and an immersive experience that brings together singing and storytelling.

We launched the exhibition in Leicester in June 2023 to coincide with the NHS’s 75th anniversary. The exhibition was open to the public at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery for four months, accompanied by a series of workshops and events ranging from talks to music and craft workshops to yoga sessions.

Heart of the Nation at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery (Photo: Everything’s Fine Photography)

It then moved to Leeds, where we staged the exhibition from our Migration Museum Leeds Pop-Up in Trinity Leeds shopping centre from mid-November 2023 until mid-February 2024.

Heart of the Nation at the Migration Museum Leeds Pop-Up (Photo: Hamish Irvine Photographer)

We launched the final leg of the national tour at the Migration Museum in Lewisham, south London, where Heart of the Nation runs until 27 July 2024.

Heart of the Nation at the Migration Museum in Lewisham (Photo: Sopo Ramischwili)

More than 40,000 of you have seen the exhibition so far during its national tour so far – and we’ve been blown away by how deeply it has resonated with so many of you. Here are just a few of your responses:

“What a moving, beautiful exhibition – thank you. A wonderful opportunity to reflect on the hopes and dreams of those who helped to build our health service.”

“This is such a powerful, insightful and amazing exhibition that says so much through stories. Lots resonated with the stories of my parents being from a Ghanaian background and thinking about their experiences.”

“No exhibition in my life so far has made me so emotional! I’m an immigrant myself and I truly feel for every soul that came to this country and continues to be a nice and kind person despite all the hardships and racism. Stay strong & keep nursing :)”

Heart of the Nation has also been featured by a wide range of media during its national tour, including the Guardian, the Daily Mirror, Metro, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio London, BBC East Midlands Today, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Asian Network, Dazed, Eastern Eye and the Big Issue

Thanks to our funders who have made this exhibition possible: Arts Council England, Garfield Weston, People’s Postcode Trust, The Rumi Foundation, The Dorfman Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy. 

And a massive thank you to all of the artists, collaborators, designers and current and former NHS workers who have contributed stories, photos, uniforms, party dresses, placards and so much more – this exhibition is for you.

We’re thrilled to be shortlisted alongside four other fantastic temporary and touring exhibitions – you can view the shortlist here. The awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday 15 May 2024.

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