First things first.
What is BALM? BALM ー Black Alliance for Lewisham Minds ー is a Lewisham-based platform dedicated to the mental wellbeing of Afro-Caribbean communities. We are providing free resources to support active listening and encourage meaningful dialogue.
BALM’s mission is simple. Freedom and joy. We want to help start the conversations that will lead us to acceptance, understanding and healing within the community.
Let’s be real for a moment. Blackness is complex. We are more than one people. We're a multitude of nations united by our distinctive sense of creativity at its best; and our shared experience of systemic oppressions at its worst.
We believe that the legacy of blackness can change for the better. It will change. It is changing. Together, we can start new traditions that encourage places of care and trust. Where people are valued, listened to and respected. BALM is a call for restoration. Revival.
A collaborative approach.
Created by designer and researcher Cynthia Voza Lusilu (Vozastudio), BALM is the result of a joint effort between a number of contributors who helped co-design these resources, bringing the vision to life. Many thanks to London-based illustrator Olivia Twist, Voluntary Services Lewisham staff & befriendees, and local mental health practitioners.
Take a look at our CREDITS page to see all who took part in the project.
This project was funded and supported by the Design Museum.
For more information, you can visit the Designers in Residence website.
Locally rooted, globally connected.
The Black Alliance for Lewisham Minds was created for Black Lewisham by Black Lewisham.
This Lewisham-based resource can be used across the UK as well as globally. It has the potential to reach communities and families who live the shared Black experience.
BALM is also an invitation for non-Black individuals and communities around the world to actively listen, learn and do the work to dismantle structural racism and combat systemic inequalities.