Grenfell Tower – Exeter University Legal Study 2019

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

‘Institutional discrimination and the Grenfell Tower Public Enquiry: Dr Natalie Ohana PhD, Exeter University (September 2019)

I was privileged to be invited by Dr Natalie Ohana to provide trauma focused support for group members taking part in this three day legal study for Grenfell survivors in September 2019.

This project aimed to explore the intersection between law and trauma as a multi-disciplinary research field which included the use of therapeutic art approaches.

Dr Ohana explored the following areas with group (survivor) members:

  1. Different aspects of the intersection between law and trauma,

  2. The use of an interdisciplinary lens, which includes trauma studies, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, art, socio-legal studies and law.

  3. To explore how knowledge about how trauma can be limited by political and social contexts.

  4. The gaps between the experience of trauma and its legal understanding and how this ‘gap’ can be reduced.

  5. How trauma impacts the agency of the individual in legal proceedings and impacts their ability to participate.

I was fortunate to witness the creation of some incredible images which clearly illustrated the ongoing and unresolved feelings of grief and loss which the group members were still experiencing. The creation of these images provided not only a therapeutic ‘container’ for those attending, but also a ‘space’ in which no words were required.

Being re-traumatised by repeating details of the events that took place on the night of June 14th 2017 were reported by those attending (in relation to the the first stage of the legal inquiry and needing to repeat details in order to access practical and emotional support). It was clear that both the image content and the sharing aided in providing a sense of strength within the group and I was incredibly honoured to have witnessed the process of these wonderful group members.

I learnt a great deal from this group, and the sharing of their experiences, grieving and support for each other has stayed with me ever since. I would like to thank Natalie for leading the group; Dror for filming the entire three days and also Nour-Eddine for his help and support in setting up the group and location.

Thank you also to the group members and survivors. You are incredible teachers and I wish you all the best with the next stage of the inquiry and beyond.

Grenfell Tower Exeter University Legal Study 2019

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