FEATURED: Muscle Memory Makes Magnificent Motifs

It is always brilliant working with the energetic activity coordinators Kim and Carey at the integrated Stroke Unit and Medicine of the Elderly wards at the Royal Infirmary. It is a mutual learning experience and it strengthens the impact of our work. Working collaboratively, we have made impactful arts and music happen and are excited to start working with newly-appointed activity coordinator Murray Fotheringham at Ward 120.

Recently artist Laura Aldrige worked with the activity coordinators and patients on the Stroke and Dementia wards at the RIE and she picks up the story from here: “I wanted to work in a way that was accessible for all patients; that is taking something that could work in multiple ways and have tasks within it that were flexible to allow as much participation as possible. I decided to work with block printing; the activity allowed for much collaboration and conversation between staff, myself and patients. There was a freedom to it that allowed for testing out more abstract ideas alongside more realistic or recognisable motifs.

Interestingly the printing process seemed to bring about conversations about what patients ‘used to do for a living.’ There was one woman in particular that had been a printer and she just had all this muscle memory and was able to just print non-stop, making the most beautiful prints composed of other people’s printing blocks; how she lined up the different printing blocks and chose complimentary colours was fantastic to see. It’s crucial that people come away feeling positive and that the activity has enhanced their feelings about themselves rather than remind them what they can’t do.”

We look forward to building on this work with Kim, Carey and Murray and creating permanent displays at the Stroke and Medicine for the Elderly wards.

Weaving at the Royal Infirmary

eri_1From October to December 2018 artists Claire Barclay and Laura Spring worked with Carey Moss and Kim McGovern at the Royal Infirmary. Carey and Kim are the only two activity coordinators at the hospital and cover wards 101, 104, 201, 202 and 203; some are stroke wards and some are medicine of the elderly wards. Since the patient profile on these wards varies, Claire and Laura had to come up with an activity that would work across all wards.

On the stroke wards patients may experience sensory and communication difficulties, problems reading, writing, and mobility issues as well as increased levels of tiredness and fatigue. On top of this hey are dealing with the emotional stress of having had a stroke. On the medicine of the elderly wards a large percentage of patients have dementia, which means we have to tailor activity to individuals who have memory loss, communication and language difficulties, impaired reasoning and judgment abilities as well as changes in visual perception.

Claire and Laura decided to try weaving exercises with the patients, as it was straightforward process with a high degree of repetition. This encouraged movement dexterity but also worked with dementia patients as the repetitive movements, over one, under one, became something all patients could process and understand.

Reading Friends

SIMON_1_BLOGOver 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

Open Show 2018: Call for Submissions

OpenShow

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.

If you any questions, then please get in touch.

Common Play: Making Things Happen

As a society we no longer create social spaces naturally. Within mental health the increasing reality is isolation and the lack of opportunity for people to find meaningful and engaging ways to belong to their immediate communities.

Over the past years Artlink projects at the Glasshouses in the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh hospital, Leylines across West Lothian and Curious Routes within Edinburgh have at the heart of their studio practice the motivation to bring people together.

‘We as a group of people meet up, chat, eat, share and listen together. It allows us to creatively explore our realities of isolation, support each other and challenge the lack of meaningful opportunities that people face on a daily basis’

These projects become social spaces, a chance to engage and share in conversation. ‘Everyone recognises themselves in how the ideas emerge and the way we make them happen.’ Ideas develop naturally inspired by something as simple as a favourite tune, a movie that inspires a time and place, a shared memory. Common ground emerges and the inspiration to involve others is the next step.

In West Lothian’s Leylines project, Peter Johnstone brought his passion for up and coming Scottish music talent to his local community of Bathgate. ’I want people to experience music locally that they might otherwise have to travel to city centres to experience.’

Edinburgh’s Curious Routes project has been developing conversations around communal play through music and games. ‘Getting together and sharing is on our own terms, we inform our ideas from personal and lived experiences’

The Glasshouses studio is a collective group of artists who create unique projects and events that encourages participation and celebration, as one member of the collective puts it: ‘As a group we have created a safe and supportive environment to explore our ideas. We bounce ideas off one another, it encourages us to be bolder, more ambitious about how we involve others and have fun in what we create.’

Over the course of this exhibition at the Tent gallery, Glasshouses, Leylines and Curious Routes will be inviting groups and the public to actively take part in workshops or just enjoy the artworks on display.

A portable ping-pong table will be open for anyone to use. No points, no rules just play. Alongside this listen to music, chat about what motivates us and how we begin to create and be in charge of our own spaces.

We will become like (a) family – Hospital Activities Programme Jan – Mar 2017

Over the past year Artlink has been working towards this programme of
exhibitions, workshops and events which explores in some detail different aspects
of older age. We want to share the stories of love, life and family we came across
in our research.

We aren’t looking at this through rose-tinted spectacles; we know about the
problems that exist and the hardship that is experienced. What we want to show is
just how remarkable and resilient people are, how enthusiastic they are to join in,
work together and share their experiences.

Each participating hospital has its own ‘theme’ and all events match the interests of
the amazing people we have met and worked with over the years.

Although the exhibitions and events are aimed at older audiences and for those
who care for older people, we have designed this programme to have an open
appeal. You will be introduced to artists and writers who have an interesting
perspective on older age, as well as to local people and organisations who do
amazing work giving advice, support and providing recreational activities.

To make sure that everyone has the opportunity to join in, we have placed some of
these events are on closed wards and some in public spaces. All events are free.
If you want to take part, check what’s on on your ward, or find out more, get in
touch with us at Artlink.

Contact
Kirsty Williams: kirsty@artlinkedinburgh.co.uk or 0131 229 3555
Trevor Cromie: trevor@artlinkedinburgh.co.uk or 0131 5376127

Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation Art Collection

The Pelican Gallery at the RIE, 11 November 2016 – 13 January 2017

The vision of Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation is of healthier, longer lives for the people of Lothian. It invests in the promotion of better health and wellbeing across Edinburgh and the Lothians, making a difference to people’s lives on a local, regional and national level.

Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation holds an extensive collection of some 2,700 artworks. In December 2015 ELHF appointed the Royal Scottish Academy to deliver a comprehensive artwork collection management strategy. This will focus on gathering information and creating a complete catalogue of works in the collection, providing the foundations for interpretation of the collection and the re-hang of work across NHS Lothian sites.

As part of this approach, the collection will be opened out for engagement with the hospital communities, inviting feedback on artworks and where work could be displayed in the future. This exhibition acts as a starting point to this process, presenting a small body of work of the most recent artworks gifted to the ELHF Collection from the RSA.

If you would like to find out more information about the Edinburgh and Lothian Health Foundation Collection please contact Arts Manager Susan Grant via the website:

 

www.elhf.co.uk

elhf@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk