Saturday, 25 February 2012

Isadora sculpture honours HIV campaigner

A Friend of Fairlynch Museum has been delighted to learn that a leading figure involved with human rights has again been honoured with her artwork at a ceremony staged at her former Cambridge College.

Otterton-based sculptor Angie Harlock, who left Clare College in 1974, feels that her bronze figure 'Isadora, Joy', symbolic of the courage of dancer Isadora Duncan was an appropriate award when it was presented earlier this month to Dr Alice Welbourn, pictured above with her husband Dr Nigel Padfield.

As the founder of Stepping Stones, co-founder and chair of trustees for the Sophia Forum and the Director of the Salamander Trust, Dr Welbourn, also a former Clare student, has spent her career working to raise the profile of HIV positive women from her base in Devon. 

Dr Welbourn accepted the title of Alumnus of the Year 2012 at the Cambridge ceremony.  After studying Anthropology as a PhD student at Clare College she lived and worked in Somalia for five years until in, 1989, the deteriorating security situation in Mogadishu forced her to move to Kenya. A year later, she returned to England with her two children.

In 1992, with no symptoms but as a result of a routine antenatal test, she discovered she was HIV positive. At the time, when no treatment was yet available, the diagnosis felt like a death sentence, made all the worse by not being able to share her knowledge with others due to the stigma attached to it.

Using her PhD research, she decided to create something positive out of adversity. She went on to develop the Stepping Stones training package, designed to help individuals and communities learn to cope with HIV, and later founded the Sophia Forum and became Director of the Salamander Trust.

Last year's award of Angie's Isadora sculpture was to the Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi as previously mentioned at

Master of Clare College Professor Tony Badger, Angie Harlock and Stephen Jakobi OBE, 

Other recipients of the sculpture as Clare College's Alumnus of the Year include Stephen Jakobi OBE, founder of Fair Trials International and a tireless campaigner against miscarriages of justice around the world.

For more information about Dr Alice Welbourn's work click on  

'Isadora - Joy' as sculpted by Angie Harlock alongside the real Isadora Duncan

to see the pair of sculptures showing the "brave and inspirational" dancer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927) absorbed in dancing her instinctive and emotional style of free dance which she performed tirelessly and taught to girls all over the world.   

The dancer was also a source of inspiration and friendship for Kathleen Scott, widow of the Antarctic explorer. Click on  to read more.