In 2016 GHAT started a 2 year programme of arts activity within Dr Gray’s Hospital and Inverurie Community Hospital which linked up with community and other third sector groups in each area. This also included work with Moray School of Art, UHI, to create a student mentorship programme around the project, giving the student’s experience of community involvement in their developing practice.
In the initial stage of the project, the artists were asked to explore the questions:
- What is the potential of a hospital as a public building to be a cultural focal point?
- What is the potential of arts practice in a hospital to create positive cultural engagement opportunities for the visiting public?
- How can we create a programme of arts delivery in community healthcare facilities which challenges the perceived model of an arts organisation within hospital accommodation?
Anthony Schrag was commissioned to pilot the project in October 2016 through to January 2017. He researched the history and current use of both sites, established links with the staff and local community groups, along with running a series of events to engage staff in the project. These included:
Dr Grays, Elgin
Everyone’s A Critic – Anthony worked with the staff, patients at Dr Grays to explore what they thought of the current artwork in place, rating each artwork with a coloured sticker along 3 major public areas within the hospital.
Dr Grays Christmas Fayre – As a way to start a relationship with local artist and designers, Anthony worked with Charis Edward Wells from MC3 Studios in Elgin to set up a Christmas Fayre in the foyer area of Dr Grays, creating a new platform to sell their work and exposure to a new audience, while also encouraging the local community on come on site for something other than health related reasons, and do some Christmas shopping.
Inverurie Community Hospital
Mapping the Hospital – Anthony identified the lack of designated space where staff would commonly meet and exchange ideas. He worked with the staff to map their journeys around the site to identify areas where they regularly meet, and traced how often they make to same journey around the site in a day.
Happy Birthday Buildings! – Addressing the issue of there being no ‘central hub’ on the site, Anthony organised a 76 birthday party for the historic buildings. It came with an over-sized birthday card signed by many of the staff and a cake in the shape of the buildings. The idea was to start a discussion about the buildings and bring people together.
Mike Inglis and Graeme Roger started on the project in March 2017. Using the research undertaken by Anthony and influenced by their own and each other’s practice they quickly set up a staff video portrait project on both sites, and a online blog https://resonateartists.wordpress.com/.
The video portrait project served two purposes:
- To create a living archive of the staff who make up the community of both hospitals
- To get to know and engage with the staff on site.
Recognising that the local community plays a big part in Inverurie Hospital, the artists took part of the filming of site and based themselves in Inverurie Library and invited the local community to take part in the project. Both films were screened at 2 outdoor events in November 2017.
Examples of other projects they have completed and are currently working on are:
Dr Grays, Elgin
Culture Cafe – Innovation and Engagement. Culture Cafe hosted an evening of good food and discussion around hospitals being cultural focal points for the communities they sit within. Members of the olocal arts community and NHSG staff were encourage to attend and join in the discussion. https://www.culturecafe.scot/events/innovation-and-engagement/
UPJUNKERS and the Multi Faith Chaplaincy Project – UPJUNKERS are a group of porters who upcycle old furniture from the hospital and surrounding community. They are working with the artists and Chaplain to source furniture donated by the local community for the Chaplaincy. https://www.facebook.com/upjunkers
Ward 7 Silver Service Tea Afternoons – Catrin Jeans was commissioned to work with the staff of Ward 7 (Elderly Medicine) to help develop their Silver Service Tea afternoon for patients and their families, which offers a wealth of stories, and to incorporate them into the 200 centenary celebration plans for Dr Grays Hospital.
Aerial Photography Film of all NHSG sites – The Artists were approached by porter Steven Barker, who runs a fully licensed aerial filming company. Steven wanted assistance to produce a ‘video to promote pride within the community hospitals as well as the main hospitals in NHS Grampian’. Graeme has been working closely with Steven to develop the film over course of the project to coincide with the 200 Centenary Celebration plans for Dr Grays Hospital. https://stevenbarker-uas.co.uk/aerial-video/
Inverurie Community Hospital
Friend Of Inverurie Hospitals Community Garden – The artists worked with the Friends group to work on the design and development of a community garden on the Hospital site. They are also working with the current project managers of the new Health Centre being built on site to incorporate the design of the community garden across the rest of the site. https://www.facebook.com/friendsofinveruriehospital/
Garioch Heritage Society – During initial site visits, it became apparent the history of the hospital was something the local community takes pride in. Mike and Graeme are working with Chair of Garioch Heritage Society to look at ways of including a programme of activity around its collection with a focus on the hospital site and the community it is situated in. https://www.facebook.com/theworkscoffeeshop/
Inverurie and District Men’s Shed – As a collaborative project with Men’s Shed, the artists have offered workshops to the members in video production and editing. in exchange Men’s Shed are working with artist and signwriter Rachel Miller to create bespoke door signage for the 2 main blocks on the hospital site. http://www.inveruriemensshed.co.uk/index.htm
For more up to the minute information read the Resonate:Disseminate artists blog below.