The internationally acclaimed artist- Kay Rufai returns with a Wellcome Trust & Arts council funded research led mental well-being project for BAME Boys in London. The Project was created as a direct response to the rise in youth stabbings (1,299 in London between April 2017 and April 2018) which sparked a series of reactionary approaches from the government regarding tougher criminalisation of youth, more stop and searches and greater police presence in minority communities.
These approaches inspired Kay to explore the often neglected public health approach, which required investigating the mental health provisions or lack thereof, for the demographic in question – overwhelmingly black youth.
This exploration later birthed the Wellcome Trust & Arts Council funded S.M.I.L.E-ing Boys Project. The project involved research trips to Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway) and Bhutan (for its measure of Gross National Happiness instead of GDP), to explore the factors that contribute towards enabling these countries to rank amongst the top 10 happiest countries in the world consistently for the past decade.
This ongoing ethnographic research uncovered eight main factors responsible for the high happiness ranking average of the citizens in these Scandinavian countries. These factors were then used to design a series of photography, poetry and discussion based art workshops with 30 BAME Boys delivered by the Artist – Kay Rufai.