Life story

Social Work in 42 Objects (and more), curated by Mark Doel, is a collection of items that tell the life story of social work.

As you would expect, given Coram's long-standing role in the care of children, it contains several items connected to our story.

The collection, which started as a blog, contains items chosen by 'donors' from 24 countries. All the donors are involved with social work.

Here are three objects in the collection that relate to Coram's past and present.

Foundling token

Donor Harriet Ward, Professor of Child and Family Research and Director of the Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University chose a token from the Foundling Hospital to be her 'object' because:

Foundling token

these tokens represent an enduring theme in social work - separation and loss...The tokens can be seen as emblems of the pain incurred when parents and children cannot live together, even when the separation is necessary and clearly in the interests of the child. - Harriet Ward

Tracey Emin's Mitten

Donor Dr Sue Taplin, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Suffolk, chose a mitten by Tracey Emin to be her 'object'. Displayed as part of the Foundling Museum’s 2010 exhibition Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin & Paula Rego: At The Foundling, it was created from a real baby's mitten that was lost and abandoned but found by the artist, and cast in bronze. Now part of the Museum’s Collection, it is waving from railings outside.

Tracey Emin, Baby Things (Mitten), 2008 © The artist, courtesy of Tracey Emin Studio

Mitten on railings

it reminds me that good social work practice can bring strength and hope to people who are lost and vulnerable. - Sue Taplin

William Hogarth's Thomas Coram

Donor Jane McLaughlin,  a writer and publisher in the field of social work chose William Hogarth's painting of our founder Thomas Coram. She describes him as:

William Hogarth's Thomas CoramThomas Coram, the subject of this painting, was an early philanthropist pre-dating modern social work. His work endures in the Coram Foundation. - Jane McLaughlin




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