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Arts & Culture

Prayer Cushions, Never at Sea

Prayer cushions

Anchor Latin (ancorare – to fix or secure in a particular place)

“St Mary’s, ‘the Jewel in the Strand’, is an island church, a quiet sanctuary, a haven. Located until very recently on a traffic island, bodies and vehicles flowed around it amongst the thrust and charge of Westminster. It has been built, pulled down and resurrected over centuries. This building-boat, here on the Strand, is a vessel. It is a secure place in a sea of change. Its foundations, both material and mythic, are an anchor planted deep into the sea bed, one that stabilizes a vessel on a slippery horizon, where squalling winds churn the water. But what is this anchor-foundation, and who does it stabilise? Who finds their mooring amongst Westminster’s sites of power and prestige? Efforts are directed to sustaining and restoring the building-boat to its former glories. It stands as a monument to our myth histories, but even stone is made liquid as it weathers and erodes.”

Excerpt from the essay by Dr Kate Pickering

Never at Sea was an exhibition by Dr Kate McMillan, a London-based artist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Practice at the Department for Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London, located at St Mary le Strand Church in June 2023. The exhibition was developed in response to a series of arts-based workshops for women who have experienced forced migration, ran by Dr McMillan in collaboration with the Refugee Council, Lewisham Refugee Resettlement Project and King’s Sanctuary Programme. The project will be brought to life by a performance developed in collaboration with composer Professor Cat Hope and choreographer Sivan Rubinstein, featuring percussionist Louise Devenish, vocalist Macia Lemke-Kern and dancer Lydia Walker. The exhibition will be concluded by a symposium featuring socially engaged artists and organisations using creative practice to make a difference in their communities.


This exhibit can currently be found in The Curiosity Cabinet at 171 Strand - supported by King's Culture and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

To find out more about the Cabinet and other objects on display, click here.

Project status: Ongoing