First of all, we want to acknowledge the amazing work that NHS staff have been doing over the last 5 months in what are incredibly challenging times. THANK YOU.
Although Anne and Trevor have not been able to work on the wards during lockdown, they have been busy. Anne has kept in touch with various workshop participants setting different art tasks for them to try out, from still life to painting flowers to views from their windows. As time passed, participants began setting each other tasks. Other activities have included the Edinburgh Landmarks exhibition at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital which features artwork by workshop participants and staff members.
Just getting off the ground is Lost for Words, a creative writing project that pairs author Laura Marney with budding writers across the hospitals to create stories together. We are currently talking to the Scottish Book Trust on how to reach more people and involve exciting writers.
Finally, Art Games is a drawing exchange between St John’s and Liberton Hospital. Based upon a surrealist art game that allows a drawing to develop as it goes back and forth between participants, in due course we’ll be working in partnership with the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to create a larger scale sculptural project.
We will try and post as regularly as we can so there is something new to look at.
Please feel free to give us any feedback, or ask about participating in future projects. Artlink Hospital Arts Team contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org(normal working week is Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)email@example.com(normal working week varies depending on projects, currently mostly Wednesday and Thursday).
With a passion for reminiscence and the help of a huge back catalogue of songs from every genre, Edinburgh’s premier Cabaret singer and host will be singing in the new year with songs that cheer us up and bring us together. The unifying effect of music is powerful and Annabel is delighted to be back for 2019.
Patients and staff alike have been clearly enjoying the healing power of song. New friends at the St John’s Stroke Unit proclaimed ‘You are really treating us to something very special here!’ as staff and patients danced to the music.
Annabel has had a great time connecting with patients and she looks to the coming year to build upon these positive bonds. She will be visiting the activity rooms and going bed to bed with her unique brand of entertainment and chat, inviting you to join her in singing together, sharing stories, laughing, dancing or simply sitting back and enjoying some entertainment.
Over the last months we have been working in partnership with The Scottish Book Trust and The Reading Agency to bring Reading Friends to care for the elderly wards. Reading Friends is a UK wide scheme that uses books and reading as a way of fostering friendship and creating meaningful moments that have long term effects.
We are one of just two projects in Scotland and the first to be bring this project onto hospital wards. Fifteen new volunteers with varied and interesting backgrounds are ready to deliver this brilliant programme after some first class training from our partners at Volunteer Edinburgh. More training is to come as we continue to recruit but we already have a few of our wonderful volunteers visiting Prospect Bank and St. Johns Hospital. Simon Jay, Artlink’s volunteer coordinator for Reading Friends, has been bringing an exciting energy to the scheme:
“Since our first volunteer meeting mid-January, we’ve had new volunteers join us and we’ve begun to get out onto the wards. The volunteers themselves will be able to share their personal experience at one of our regular volunteer meet ups. Personally I have observed how the act of companionship, through sitting alongside someone and reading, can make a difference in unquantifiable ways. For instance, one patient a volunteer was reading to became much more engaged during an hour together looking at photo-books of Edinburgh. Relatives who visited after a Reading Friend had been to visit mentioned that everyone found it easier to talk and engage with each other. On another occasion, visiting a particularly distressed patient in their room calmed them down immediately and they found the companionship very soothing.”Simon Jay, Reading Friends Volunteer Coordinator
We’d like to welcome back Sarudzai Mutebuka, Senior Charge Nurse at Prospect Bank, you have only been back a short period but your amazing energy and enthusiasm is already showing results!
To expand what’s available in some of the specialist dementia units we work with, we asked Dance Base, who are currently running ‘Step in Time’ across 5 elderly residential homes in Edinburgh, to set up one of their projects at Prospect Bank. ‘Step in Time’ is a creative movement programme for older people. To make sure that the project would be well supported, Emma Stewart-Jones from Dance Base led a training session for care staff. A fun and energising morning explored how dance and creative movement can be used in care environments. To maximise impact of this opportunity Artlink invited activity coordinators from other hospitals to take part too.
Dance Base has now started a set of 8 weekly workshops for residents till the end of March. Activity Coordinators have been invited to observe how the dance specialist leads these moment sessions. This way they can start to explore how they may incorporate similar ways of working into their own work. Artlink also organise a monthly coffee meet up for Activities Coordinators across hospitals to get us all talking to each other, sharing ways of working and feel more supported by each other.
‘Thank you to Miss Annabel Sings and Saro for setting up this training programme, it has been a delight to work with you all. Thanks to everyone who joined in the training programme, I really appreciate your energy and open minds’ Emma Stewart-Jones, Dance Base
It’s nearly time for the annual staff and patient exhibition! This year it will be taking place in the gallery at the Western General Hospital from 1st March – April 2018.
The exhibition so far has been developed by illustrator Laura Cave Macgowan, in collaboration with staff and patients who responded to an earlier call for ideas. She would like to invite you to explore the theme of ‘escapism’ through art, by considering the use of mark-making, lines and pattern in making a piece of work. Perhaps you could take inspiration from what you do to relax or ground yourself. Whether its gardening, visiting a landscape or reading your favourite book, you might want to focus on a detail, such as the surface of a leaf, tiles on a floor, or something more abstract – be as imaginative as you wish!
If you’d like to take part, please read the guidelines and complete the submissions form, returning it to us by Monday 12th February. All artwork should be framed and handed in to the Artlink office by Monday 19th February.
We’re very much looking forward to seeing all of your unique and creative responses to the theme.