Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


Weaving a network of love and care

21 May 2022, 12:00 pm–3:00 pm

Someone looking at a brightly coloured patterned fabric

Behind the strength and resilience shown by Somali mothers, there is an inspiring story to be weaved.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Phil Wiles

Are you a woman living in London with Somali heritage? Have you experience of neonatal care (e.g., your baby was born premature or sick) and/or of operative birth (e.g., forceps were needed)? UCL is working with Somali fabric artist Hafza Yusuf on an arts-led workshop seeking to learn more about patient experience. If you're selected to take part, you will receive a £50 "Thank You" for your time and input.

Join us for an engaging textile workshop where everyone is encouraged to tell their stories, and connect through shared experiences. Taking inspiration from beautiful traditional Somali textiles, we will explore techniques such as printing and weaving to tell personal stories of birth and parenthood. In the process, you will learn about the rich history of Somali culture and how to express yourself through arts and crafts and meet research scientists trying to improve care.

Participants will receive a £50 "Thank You" for their time and input. On signing up, you will be asked some questions so we can get to know you. We are seeking people from a range of backgrounds to take part and only have room for a limited number of participants for this workshop.

Space is limited and we will contact people to confirm attendance, and shortly after send through a workshop plan of activities and topics we will explore during the session, in addition to any related workshop materials.

If you have questions, please email p.wiles@ucl.ac.uk


Below is more information about the team involved in this project:

Hafza Yusuf:

I am a Somali-British textile designer, Art educator and founder of Hafza Studio. My love for art and culture led me to pursue a career in textile design, which became a way for me to celebrate the beauty of the Somali culture and preserve Somali textiles and heritage.

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Kayd Somali Arts and Culture

Kayd Somali Arts and Culture is an arts organisation that was founded in 2009 and has helped coordinate this session. Kayd means preservation in Somali language and seeks to promote arts, culture and heritage for the benefit of the public. Since 2009, the flagship event by Kayd has been its annual Somali Week Festival, which is the largest Somali festival outside of the Somali Horn and takes place in UK’s Black History Month in October each year.

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Women’s Inclusive Team

This session is being hosted by the Women’s Inclusive Team. Since 2004 Women’s Inclusive Team has been supporting the Black and ethnic minority communities in Tower Hamlets through youth programmes, women’s empowerment projects, mental health support and our food bank and community kitchen.

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Carmen Salvadores Fernandez:

I am a PhD student at the Nanoengineered Systems Lab that develops and applies nanoengineered technology for healthcare applications. Nanoengineering is engineering on a very small scale (a nanometre is one billionth of a meter!).

One of these applications focuses on improving the safety of operative birth (procedures such as caesarean section, forceps delivery, ventouse etc.) by using sensors we develop in our lab.

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Katie Gallagher

Katie Gallagher is a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL EGA Institute of Women’s Health, and a neonatal nurse research associate on the UCLH neonatal unit.

Katie works with parents and healthcare workers to study parental engagement in their infant’s care before and after birth, and how healthcare workers care for parents and infants, including (if necessary) operating on infants who are still in their mother’s womb.

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Shireen Jaufuraully:

I am a doctor specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I am currently taking time out of clinical work to focus on research and how we can make operative birth (caesarean section, ventouse, and forceps) safer for women. I am working with Carmen and other engineers on special sensors that can be used to examine women in labour.

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