On the Record: On Happiness

For our third segment of On the Record, we have a guest contributor: Caroline is a Communications Officer working for a faith-based organisation on a project about modern slavery in the UK. She has previously worked in fundraising and communications for an international development charity. On this occasion, Caroline reflects on the links between safety and happiness, and how that relates to her experiences in the field.This week’s topic was chosen to honour the International Day of Happiness.

On the Record 3 (Happiness)

Q. Why did you take this picture?
A. I took this picture because my brief was to take something about happiness and wellbeing and, for me, books and reading are the things that make me really happy. It feels like a safe space for me so I thought I would take a picture of the books in my bookshelf. I have recently become pretty ruthless about what books I allow on my bookshelf because we live in such a small apartment, so I only keep books there that I either have not read yet or I have read and I want to share with a friend or to read again. So definitely things that make me happy.

Q. What is it about books that make you feel safe?
A. Ooh, good question! I think that because I read a lot as a kid, it reminds me of that safe space of childhood but then also this idea that you can travel to different worlds, or try on different identities, or get to know all these different characters without actually having to meet them. Basically, there is a barrier between you and the scary outside world but you still get to experience so many different things.

Q. Do you think is the link between safety and happiness then?
A. That’s a really interesting question because I think people often put safety or security before happiness, so safety becomes the bedrock on which happiness can be built. In the modern slavery project that I work on you hear a lot about victims who stay in a place of exploitation because it is what they know; maybe they have been exploited from a young age, or they might be afraid to escape because they do not know what the next thing will be, or how the authorities will treat them, or how the next people they meet will treat them… so they put security above this idea of happiness that could happen. [pause] I am not a victim of slavery and have not been exploited, so for me, I suppose, safety and happiness are things I take for granted.



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Communications Officer

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