My proposal for a paper “Scottish artists bring nature into healthcare” has been accepted for the Global Alliance for Arts & Health 25th Conference in Houston, Texas in April.
The abstract is,
Scotland has a strong portfolio of arts and health projects including both public art installations within healthcare buildings and participatory programmes, in particular with people with long term conditions. This presentation will focus on public art installations by artists and designers which use biophilic and other design approaches to bringing nature into buildings. It addresses the conference themes of Patient Care, Healing Environments and Caring for Caregivers.
It is well known thanks to the work of Robert Ulrich that views of nature contribute to patient recover, and it is clear from the work of Stephen Kaplan that views of nature can play a role in restoring our ability to give our attention. OPENspace Research at Edinburgh College of Art (http://openspace.eca.ac.uk/ ) has further substantiated the connections between nature and wellbeing focusing on inclusive access to the outdoors.
In Scotland there have been a number of projects in the context of Healthcare where artists and designers have specifically sought to use art and design to bring nature into buildings in addition to what the architects and landscape designers are able to achieve.
Four key examples are:
Thomas A Clark’s (http://thomasaclarkblog.blogspot.co.uk/) project with the architects Reiach & Hall, ‘A Grove of Larch in a Forest of Birch,’ for the New Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow integrated poetry and visual arts into what the architects described as the architecture of waiting. The Aim was to create spaces in which users of the hospital could wait for appointments in “a place apart having the brightness and stillness of a woodland glade.”
Alexander Hamilton’s (http://www.alexanderhamilton.co.uk/) Designing for Dignity (http://designingfordignity.co.uk/Inspired-by-Nature) is an approach that draws on a deep understanding of the Victorian poet and artist John Ruskin and of the more recent Biophilia Hypothesis. Hamilton is currently developing designs including furniture and art for the Quiet or Family rooms in the New South Glasgow Hospitals based on an extensive programme of creative engagement. Hamilton is also working on the design of a healthcentre in Glasgow.
Dalziel + Scullion’s (http://www.dalzielscullion.com/) practice is increasingly focused on addressing nature deficit disorder. Their work encompasses exhibitions and public art. Their scheme for the wards of the New South Glasgow Hospitals will bring the whole landscape of Scotland into one building. Their project Rosnes Benches, currently being installed in the landscape of Dumfries and Galloway, they have also contributed work to the Vale of Leven Health Centre (http://www.wide-open.net/index.php?page=vale-of-leven)
Donald Urquhart has completed public art projects for four mental health hospitals including most recently Midpark Acute Mental Health Hospital (http://www.wide-open.net/index.php?page=healing-spaces) and developed Sanctuary spaces for both hospitals and universities. His award winning design for the Sanctuary at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has become a benchmark (http://www.ginkgoprojects.co.uk/projects/royal-infirmary-edinburgh).
These artists and others demonstrate key aspects of the role of art in bringing nature into healthcare contexts including focus on characteristics of nature such as colour, pattern and movement. As artists they use attention, framing and synthesis.
In addition to sharing these developments with the conference audience I hope to identify other artists exploring similar issues.
I’m very much hoping to find other artists and designers working along these lines with the depth of thinking as well as the quality of work.
“We can transform the meaning of the word “cure”. We can transform the role of knowledge. We can be human.”
Salvatore’s diagonsis with brain cancer has led to his open sourcing of his medicalisation by cracking the digital files associated with his Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, and inviting anyone to contribute to his cure. Of course he had surgery, and the point of the process is not whether any one suggestion was more likely to be successful, but rather that he opened up the process to a shared dialogue demonstrating FLOSS principles. He argues that this enabled him to be human again at a point where he had disappeared in the industrialised process of healthcare.
Foreign Bodies, Common Ground at the Wellcome Trust. The exhibition is extended to 16 March and is well worth a visit. There are some outstanding works, including in particular Katie Paterson’s Fossil Necklace, Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muriuki’s Pata Picha Photo Studio, but also Zwelethu Mthethwa’s participatory photography project focused on ‘impilo engcono’ (good health).
Scottish Government grant funding to national voluntary organisations which provide, promote or publicise health or health-related services. The list of previous grants includes several arts organisations as well as a number working in the environment. National Voluntary Organisations 16b Grants.
Eòghann Mac Colla‘s Place Changes Perspective in the Village Hall in Dunlop, Ayrshire. Well worth the jaunt on a Friday evening to see new work, hear Eòghann’s brother play the pipes, and see a community come out to support an artist (and also now elected member of the local authority).