Migration Museum film highlights essential role of migrant workers in NHS

As the NHS turns 75, the Migration Museum teams with director Emmanuel Sugo for Speak, featuring the perspectives of seven first and second-generation migrant NHS workers.

20 June 2023

London’s Migration Museum has commissioned an interactive music and film experience ahead of the NHS’ 75th anniversary on 5 July. Through “song and storytelling”, Speak will explore the role of migrant workers in the NHS, forming the basis of a national touring exhibition under the same theme, called Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS. The film, which is yet to be released, is directed by interdisciplinary artist and producer Emmanuel Sugo and creative director, artist and musician Kaia Laurielle.

Speak is also co-created and performed by seven NHS workers. The film will delve into “how their experience as migrants has informed their work, the challenges and sacrifices they have made, and the rewards they have found”, says a release. A set of beautiful preliminary stills hint at how the film will also explore the complex history of care in this context. Further stories will be shared in the wider exhibition, spotlighting the migrant healthcare workers who have built and sustained the UK’s health service.

The Migration Museum – which explores the history of migration in Britain through exhibitions and education programmes from its temporary base in Lewisham – will launch the interactive film on 4 July at Outernet London.

“For all its challenges, the NHS remains an immense source of national pride and is often painted as a distinctly British success story,” says curator and Migration Museum artistic director Aditi Anand. “Yet the NHS simply wouldn’t exist without the generations of people from all over the world who have built, grown and staffed it.”

GalleryMigration Museum / Emmanuel Sugo: Speak, co-directed by Kaia Laurielle (Copyright © Migration Museum, 2023)

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Migration Museum / Emmanuel Sugo: Speak, co-directed by Kaia Laurielle (Copyright © Migration Museum, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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