'Institutional Indifference' - What it is to de denied the right to a safe home


Doreen Lawrence writes movingly about the the indifference of the authorities to the residents who lived in Grenfell Tower and to those who live in social housing, drawing 'striking parallels' with the handling of the investigation into the murder of her son Stephen.

'Very few people in positions of power understand what this experience is like. I doubt they have ever had to live in poor housing or know what it is like to feel invisible, like no one cares.'  She writes in the Observer, pointing to the structural failures which mean that those who live in social housing have been denied the right to a safe home.

She writes further about the 'undeniable part' race and class play in the response of authorities and in whose voices get heard. The Tower residents were largely immigrants or refuges, whom people in power felt they could ignore - it has taken the fuel of anger and pain to bring their voices to prominence and force an enquiry.

Baroness Lawrence is no putting her energies into improving the situation and now part of housing charity Shelter’s Big Conversation on social housing.

The Making Of 'She Draws:She Builds'

Studio Aki is part of a meet-up of North London female architects, founded by Anna Schabel. Conversations encompass our practice as architects and beyond; work, life balance and the future of the profession. At  meetings over pizza and wine the the group discussed various ways of bringing their conversations to a wider audience. Several possibilities were considered, including the idea of a film.  

Sharing stories, particularly on film, is something we have a passion for; Sarah wanted to help turn this into a reality and so offered to direct and make the film. 

In February of 2017 the process of interviewing women began, initially we spoke to women  from the group but eventually this broadened this out to include women from various backgrounds and at all stages of their careers.  Lots of wonderful material was gathered and Sarah then started the difficult process of editing it down to thirty minutes or so, to create the shared story that is the She Draws:She Builds film.  There was about fifteen hours of footage to be distilled down to thirty minutes and we also needed a way of separating the film into chapters; this is partly how Sarah developed the idea of the hand sketching moteif, which repeats throughout the film.

At the end of 2017 She Draws was screened at the RIBA and we now look forward to further screenings as part of International Women's Day at RIBA London March, as part of Ethel Day at RIBA North this summer and possibly further afield.

More about the process of making the film to follow...