This document is about validating the importance of creative expression of people who are living within a hospital context. It is based on the assumption that art is about values, beliefs, identity, expression and communication and as such should be a fundamental right of every individual, regardless of whether they are in hospital or not.

“I’ll be doing this sky in my dreams tonight”

Art in Hospital

Published by Art in Hospital, 2006

Printed in an edition of 3000 by Summerhall Press, Edinburgh


Text © 2006, Penny Rae

Images © 2006, The Artists

All photography © 2006, Carl Cordonnier except where indicated

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any

form or by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical, including

photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval

systems – without the prior written permission from the publishers.

Design: Frozen River


Positioning Statement Penny Rae 6

Foreword Sir Kenneth Calman 10

Conversations 16

Art in Hospital



This document is about validating the

importance of creative expression of

people who are living within a hospital

context. It is based on the assumption

that art is about values, beliefs, identity,

expression and communication and

as such should be a fundamental right

of every individual, irregardless of

whether they are in hospital or not.

The first question we asked

ourselves in this study of the

work of Art in Hospital was

how to approach it. What

attitude, state of mind, was

needed in order for the

project’s emotional and artistic

substance to reveal itself? In

the end, the research process

we used was not based on

scientifically proven data, if

such is necessary to make

a convincing case, but on a

process of rational deduction

from individual perspectives,

representing them through

their own words and images.

As we entered into the world

of Art in Hospital, the rules of

interaction between the artists

and participants sometimes

seemed so fluid that they

could only be determined by

the dynamics of each individual

situation. However, what was

clear was that no evaluation

of hospital-based art practice

could be made without some

understanding of context. Art in

healthcare practice is shaped by

a particular place and particular

conditions and a particular

artistic and political moment.

It is designed to respond to

very particular situations.

Unless these situations are

experienced to some degree, is

it very hard for any evaluation

to be responsible or just?

Art in Hospital raises as many

questions as it answers. It is

driven by a belief in people

and a faith in the ability of

art to deal with social crisis.

This document aims simply to

illustrate the extraordinary

journey Art in Hospital is making

for everyone involved in some

way with the organisation;

from health care professionals

to funders, and in particular

for the artists and clients.

We hope it will inspire the

confidence in policy makers

to make a more sustained

and confident commitment

to this kind of partnership.

Penny Rae author

Carl Cordonnier photographer

October 2006





by Professor

Sir Kenneth Calman




My interest in the arts originated from a love

of literature. During the mid 1980s, I ran an

ethics course for medical students using poems,

plays, texts and the purpose of this was to

help medical students view the world from the

perspective of the artist, and not just the medical

academic. It was an interesting time for me as

we saw these bright medical students begin

to approach their course work with a broader

and more person-orientated approach which

would hopefully make them better doctors.

their being involved in arts and their quality of

life during this time is higher. Medicine is based

on science and the quest for new knowledge. The

arts and humanities however are an important

part of this and may seem to have got lost along

the way. There is now considerable interest in

re-introducing them into the medical curriculum

but not at the expense of medical knowledge. The

medical student needs to know where the heart

is but he also needs to know about emotional

interaction and effective communication.

There were two main questions which were

in my mind. The first was do the arts and the

humanities influence medical professionals, and

secondly do the arts help people with physical

and mental illnesses recover more effectively?

There is scientific evidence for both of these

which is slowly building up. The broader your

outlook on life and the more interesting you

are as a person does allow you to see people

in a different way. In addition, I have seen the

growth and self confidence in patients through

When we founded the Centre for Arts and

Humanities in Health and Medicine we wanted

to try to bring the two worlds together. Simple

things like the environment in the doctors surgery

and looking at the evidence that people felt

better in the waiting room looking out at a garden

rather than brick walls. It seems so obvious yet

how many waiting rooms are dreary and dismal

places. So it’s not just those who are health

professionals who need to think differently, it’s

architects, planners and many others. There

is a chance with new hospital buildings to look



holistically at the treatment of patients and to

use architecture and design to endorse a holistic

approach to treatment. Design has also to be

about creating a vibrant community whether that

is for a hospital or any other kind of institution.

The arts seem to engender a sense of community.

For me the Angel of the North is a particularly

strong symbol of the nurturing positive

community spirit. It has transformed peoples’

sense of pride in Gateshead, which is now

associated with the home of the angel. When

we think about quality of life the qualities are

those which make people happy and from all my

anecdotal and personal experience, engagement

as a participant or as a spectator in the arts,

these activities help to improve quality of life and

perhaps even more appropriately when people

are unwell. To influence the acceptance of arts

in healthcare has to come from people who are

really in a position to change attitudes and policy.

When I was the Government’s Chief Medical

Officer and people knew that I was interest in

the arts I like to think that it did allow people to

think differently. People in influential positions

must always recognise the importance of their

voice. By endorsing the movement you give

people permission to move ahead. I have always

advocated the use of arts in the teaching of ethics

to doctors. While I believe that science remains

absolutely critical to medical teaching I also

believe that the arts are fundamentally necessary

to improve quality of life and the development

of a fully rounded person. Relationships between

those who fund the arts and those who fund

hospitals are essential. I suspect that more

partnerships need to take place and people

must be encouraged to think outside their own

professional box and learn from people with

different professional backgrounds. A louder

voice should be coming from those working

within the arts and healthcare. Organisations

like Art in Hospital have huge amounts of

‘evidence’ that their work is valuable. Dedicated

arts spaces in hospital are desirable. There is

a strong enough body of evidence now to endorse

the fact that an artist’s role can be critical in

the overall care of patients. Arts specialists

are often still excluded from decisions about

patient care. I hope it will not be long before they

are seen to be part of the patient care team.

Exposure to the arts and a measure of peoples’

reaction to involvement in the arts is thus very

important. Humour as a component of this also

makes people feel better. Story telling, and

art in itself, may never relieve the symptoms

but feeling valued, and being part of the

story can go a long way towards recovery.

leads to creativity both for patients and for the

artist’s own work. I think many artists would

say their own work has developed positively

through their work with people in hospitals.

We should not try to limit the development of

arts and healthcare but see it as an opportunity

for improving the quality of life for all concerned.

Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, April 2006

I sometimes use the analogy of the bucket. A

bucket filled with love, care, compassion or

whatever you wish to call it. The general idea is

that patients take out of the bucket and doctors

and other health professionals fill it. This is a

false model. There is always some love, care and

compassion and even humour in the bucket that

patients put in and doctors take out. It is I think

the same with artists who work in hospital, they

put their skills and vision and training into the

bucket but they receive a remarkable amount

back in return and it is that partnership which









I started working as an Artist in a hospital in

1989. At that time, artists working in hospitals

were completely isolated and there was

little or no recognition from either the arts

funding bodies or the health boards of the

value of this kind of work, whether it was in

visual arts, theatre, dance or music. I found

an inspired hospital manager who worked

with me on putting together a proposal for

a pilot programme of visual art work and we

established our first art room at Belvidere

hospital in Glasgow. With The Glasgow School

of Art we established a student placement

scheme and Art in Hospital was born.

Our first exhibition was in an empty ward in

December 1991. It was the result of the work of

the previous year. Disused hospital wards make

brilliant gallery spaces. We received funding for

a second year of activity and in 1993 we were

able to employ two part time artists, who were

recent graduates of The Glasgow School of Art.

We had our first public exhibition in 1994 ‘From

a staircase to a banister to the colours in the sky.’

After we were successful in receiving funding

from the health board, the project was expanded

to two more hospitals. I wanted to develop an

artistic practice that reflected my own values

and priorities which are about a belief in the

empowerment of the individual in an institutional

context. It is about an emotional response to art,

the feel of a brush on a piece of paper, the joy

of colour, the texture of paint. We have begun

to touch the surface with new media projects,

digital animation, video but we have much more

to do. I want to offer the artists flexibility in

their approaches to working with patients but

I also have to constantly demonstrate that this

particular model of practice is cost effective.



From the outset, there are certain criteria which

are essential for me to. We employ only practicing

and professional artists. When I interview artists,

I look at their practice, whether in painting,

drawing, printmaking, film, video or sculpture

but I equally consider their communication skills.

We establish dedicated art spaces in each of

the hospitals we work in. I feel it is essential to

work in a non clinical space in an environment

which is notably different to the wards.

I think of Art in Hospital as giving back choices

to people who have temporarily had choices

removed from them and developing stronger

links between medicine, treatment, care and

artistic practice, which have traditionally been

seen as having no relationship. Health care is

seen as structured and functional; art is seen

as slightly anarchic and needing freedom not

context. The reality is less divided. Artists are

open and responsive to changing situations and

health care professionals are also concerned

about individuality and quality of life for patients.

In 2006 we have over eighteen artists employed

across nine hospitals. Since we began, we have

had sixty five exhibitions, we have undertaken

projects in France, Switzerland and Belgium.

We have exhibited at ten Glasgow Art Fairs.

I want Art in Hospital to be a model for other

health boards and to suggest a new way of

working between health boards and arts

funding bodies. I want to look at our work

in partnership with hospitals in Europe and

internationally and I want eventually to

see artists, patients, hospital Clinical Staff,

Administrative Staff all endorsing the important

place of art in a hospital environment.

The potential and the demand for

expansion of our work is endless.





Liz Cameron



I have watched the work of Art in Hospital

develop for the last 13 years and I emphatically

endorse its success. Care for the elderly is of

particular interest for me and I have always

seen the results of their work in physical

rehabilitation. I believe wholeheartedly in their

approach of sharing skills and facilitating a

creative environment for the people they are

working with. Not only is it transforming for them

mentally and emotionally; nursing staff have

talked to me about the improvements they see

in patients’ confidence, level of mental alertness

and even in their physical conditions. I think

their work is pioneering and I am delighted to be

associated with it and support it. It is important

to remember that health doesn’t just mean an

absence of sickness but a state of well being.

I remember walking into the hospital at

Blawarthill Hospital and seeing artists working,

intent and absorbed. Then I realised that most

of the patients were in their 80’s and it was an

uplifting moment that I will remember for ever.

I’m also delighted that Art in Hospital have

such a prominent place at the Glasgow Art

Fair. The organisation is an integral part

of the arts in Glasgow. The work is of such

high quality that it comes as no surprise to

me that it sells so well. The quality control

comes from the patients being supported by

talented and dedicated professional artists.

Alzheimers doesn’t so much as run in my

family, it gallops and I want to know that if I

am hospitalised and need constant care when

I get older that there will be talented and

dedicated artists sharing their skills with me, so

I have very selfish reasons too for supporting

so completely the work of Art in Hospital.




Bridget McConnell




What is sometimes perceived as social

engineering through art is often criticised but I

believe wholeheartedly in the transformational

power of art and its worth and value to

individual lives. My involvement with Art in

Hospital is at policy level, ensuring that work

like this is not marginalised but an integral part

of Glasgow’s arts policy. In the field of health

care for the elderly, the emphasis seems to be

shifting from the importance of prolonging life

for its own sake to an acceptance that quality

of life must be provided at every stage of life.

In the same way, evaluation of arts policies

in this area cannot simply be about numbers

but must also take into account anecdotal

evidence about the value to patients and

health care workers of art and arts practice.

We need to have more advocates at opinion

forming level to ensure revenue funding

for organisations that work in this area.

Arts projects in health care work when the artists

do not compromise on the quality of work and the

sharing of all their skills. No one wants access to

mediocrity, everyone wants access to excellence.

This is why Art in Hospital is so successful. Skilled

and talented professional artists are employed

in a way that firstly allows them to share their

experience and secondly allows them the time

and space to continue their own professional

development. All the artists I have seen working

within the Art in Hospital projects are committed

to what they are doing. Their communication skills

and levels of involvement with patients and health

care staff is the cornerstone of their success.


As a possible model for funding and access to the

arts in hospital, I am particularly interested in the

GP referral scheme that currently applies to sport

and would like to see it extended to arts practice.



David McQuatt



Art in Hospital is constantly evolving as an

organisation and as a body of artists. We are

trying to consolidate our work but at the same

time we want to move forward with new ways

of involvement and new practice. I see part

of our role as being to validate the concept of

peoples’ privacy within an institution. That

means offering them the choice to come into

an environment that suggests new ways of

expressing themselves personally. It means

helping to find a form of visual expression for

people that is non-judgemental and in which

no one makes assumptions about what people

can or cannot do simply because they are in a

hospital situation. That’s the basic philosophy of

the organisation for me. The process follows of

creating work and the finished work is at the end

of the line and all are important, but no moment

is more important for me than when someone

picks up that pencil, brush or charcoal for the

very first time and makes that initial mark. The

strength of our work is shown by the demand

for us to open our practice to more units, more

nursing homes, more hospitals, more artists.

Our resources are constantly stretched and

difficult decisions are constantly having to

be made. We would like to offer more artists,

more time for development, for discussion,

for evaluation and widen access to all.

Current levels of funding make it impossible.



John Lieser


I wasn’t allowed to do art at school because I had

a German surname. I had to do the sweeping up

instead. I think my early paintings were terrible

but the artists encouraged me to persevere. I’ve

only missed 2 art sessions in the last 3 years. It’s

the most important thing I do. It’s the only time

I lose myself and forget about the cancer. I’m in

a wee world of my own. I feel warm and secure. I

started out by just looking at the paintings in the

books and sometimes I just sat there and looked

at the flowers. It’s difficult to explain the feeling

when they told me someone had bought one of

my paintings at the Art Fair. It was unbelievable.

I was choked up. I think it was one of the most

important moments in my life. Can you imagine?

Someone paid for one of my paintings, then took

it home and hung it on their wall. Unbelievable.


Irene Florence



I don’t believe in altruism. I do a job that

brings immense satisfaction and it is a job that

includes frail and vulnerable people. I think

the demand for our work will always be there.

Initially, other health care workers can be wary

of us and of what we do, but then become very

receptive. I think that we’re in quite a privileged

position compared to the care staff. They are

having to cope with primary care needs whilst

we are there to help to release creativity in

people and give them back some choices. As

artists we all have lots of ideas as to how to

develop projects; ideas are never a problem

but resourcing them is problem. I would

describe our work as person centred but within

the parameters of prescribed hospital life.

My own practice has been clearly influenced

by the people I work with here. I am working in

hospitals with people who are very hesitant and

unsure of the materials they are working with,

whether its charcoal, acrylics, pastels or oils.

When I’m in my own studio I try much harder

now to let go with my materials and to enjoy

them. I know I have become more confident

in the use of texture, colour and surface.

we are

there to

help to



in people.







I’ll be doing this sky in my dreams

tonight. I know I won’t be able to

sleep unless I get that sky right. You

see I’m a learner with a capital ‘L’.

The simple fact is that I was unhappy

before I started painting and I’ve

been happy since. Once a week’s

just not enough. I should be painting

every day. I should always have

been painting. It would have kept

me out of trouble. I’ve always been

in trouble. My parents despaired of

me. There were all sorts of troubles

in my life. I was married three times

and all my husbands died. I sit in

this room with my paints and I feel

joy, hope and happiness. I’m at one

with the world for the first time.

I’m at one with

the world for


the first time.


Dr Paul Knight



In 1991 I was given the management of the care

for the elderly unit and part of my understanding

of that brief was to enhance the quality of life

for people in the unit. Provision of artists and

dedicated art spaces within hospitals are not part

of the strategic thinking within primary care but

I believe there should be strategic partnerships

between health boards and those organisations

which fund the arts. In the same way that funding

partnerships are necessary, a holistic approach

to care is also essential; not just in the hospital

but when possible in the hospital outreach

programmes. Joint working should become

an ethos. Everyone has such severe budgetary

restraints that it’s the only way forward for this

kind of work. It’s easy to say that for a relatively

modest investment, there are very high returns. I

can see that the work is far more than diversional.

There are the workshops, the exhibitions, the

Art Fair and lots of other public moments. I can

understand now how important this work is.

Projects like Art in Hospital develop from a kernel

and are nurtured by one enthusiastic protagonist.

In this case it was Barbara Gulliver.





Lucy Bates



I enjoy applying the skills that

I have learnt to support other

peoples’ work. Our work is

not about analysis; the results

may be therapeutic but I am

not a therapist. I am an Artist

sharing what I know. Working

in a group is an important part

of the process. A third focus is

created between ourselves and

the patients. We are relating

to each other through art and

achievement and process. It’s a

very different conversation to

illness, treatments and doctors.

We are

relating to

each other

through art.






Claire Simpson




I look at Art in Hospital in the same way I look at

any professional visual arts organisation working

in the city. I don’t pigeon hole them within a

social context because they’re all professional

artists who are developing their own practice at

the same time as sharing their skills and training

with a particularly venerable section of the

community. I don’t see how you can make a rigid

distinction between this kind of work and any

other professional practice. I imagine the work

the artists do in the Glasgow hospitals feeds

into their practice in the same way as any other

important life experience feeds their practice.


Charlotte Donovan



The ultimate

wish would be

dedicated art

space on every

hospital site.

The ultimate wish would be dedicated art

space on every hospital site. Each one would

have open access for visitors, staff, patients

and visitors. There would be exhibitions,

performances, residencies, public art

programmes, artists’ studios. They would be

living, vibrant non-institutional spaces within

the necessary confines of the hospitals.

I hope that health care professionals are gradually

understanding and endorsing the place of the

artist’s work in hospitals. There is still a sense that

all the other professionals working in a health care

context have their place but that the Artist remains

on the periphery. As artists we are often working

up to five hours a day with individual patients,

more hours than any other member of staff.


Marielle Macleman




It’s hard to dispel the myth that we’re

therapists. We are artists who have

made a choice to spend time working

here at the hospice. We are not here to

analyse. For us this is not a therapeutic

practice but an artistic practice. Our

discussions with patients are about

colour and light and materials. Each

time I look at the walls of this room, I

see extraordinary stories. Over there

I can see the sun setting over the loch

painted by someone who has a brain

tumour. The landscape next to it was

painted by a man who has just relearnt

to use his left hand. That series of small

paintings have been done by someone

who has lost all verbal skills and needed

a way to say thank you to her carers. Not

long ago, we were visited by a man who

wanted to collect his mother’s paintings.

She had died some weeks previous

to his visit and he said it was the only

legacy he had of her. There is a lot of

colour and a lot of laughter in this room.


Loretto Fernie



I’d love to have

gone to Art School.

I would never have

missed a class.

I’d have been the

first one in and the

last one out.

I’m an insomniac. I only sleep

for an hour or so at a time. I

used to lie there awake, just

worrying and thinking. Now I

keep my paints and my easel

by my bed and when I wake

up I paint. Sometimes I get

my best ideas in the night.

Since I started painting I’ve

cut down on my smoking. I

used to smoke about 60 a day

and now I smoke about 15.

I would paint all day and all night

if I could. I’d love to have gone

to Art School. I would never have

missed a class. I’d have been the

first one in and the last one out.


Sharon Goodlet


Working for Art in Hospital is ideal for artists

as they have time to work alone in the studio

as well as time working with the patients.

The isolation and self-absorption that is often

a problem for some artists is reduced by

the very intensive time with the patients.


There is always an element of surprise working

with elderly residents. I worked with an 86 year

old woman who had left school at 13 to look after

her brothers and discovered painting through

Art in Hospital. She had amazing energy and

experimented with a wide range of materials. She

was very talented. Her enthusiasm for painting

changed her life at 86. Her story inspired me

and in turn renewed an enthusiasm for my own

work. Those stories aren’t unusual and many

of us working as artists within the project are

constantly refreshed by the enthusiasm and

dedication of the patients. I’ve found that

artists who no longer work with traditional

materials become drawn to them again through

their time spent working with patients.

I’ve worked with a number of the different

client groups. With the elderly in the

Mansionhouse Unit, with clients through

the Epilepsy Connection, with the physically

disabled rehab unit. I’ve also worked on

preparing work for the Art Fair, which is

often an important boost to the patients

whose work is selected and sold.

We could do a lot more if we were adequately

resourced to develop. We could create more

dedicated workshop spaces and have more

exhibitions. We could spend more time in

staff training and develop our skills. I see

healthcare staff attitudes changing when

they see the results of what we do. Open

days are important where people can see

the work and understand the process and give

the artists a higher profile in the hospitals.

We’re all pushed for time. We have lots of

contact time with patients, there aren’t the

resources to allow us to develop ideas and

talk amongst other artists about what works

and why as much as we like. It would be great

to employ a fundraiser, someone to market

and promote the work, and a curator to keep

the exhibitions fresh across the hospitals.



Sandra Anderson


I’m working on a painting

now that was inspired by

my holiday in Yorkshire.

It’s a painting of the

North York Moors. I’m

trying to bring back the

light from my holiday.

I remember looking out at

the cliffs, the lighthouse,

the tractors in the fields.

It’s all there. I’ve just got

to try to bring it back

and put it here. I had

my first brain tumour

around my 38 th birthday.


Kirsty Stansfield



I work with digital media and the person centred

approach that is the ethos of Art in Hospital very

much reflects my own approach to making and

researching work. Process is very important to

me, in both my own art practice and my work

with Art in Hospital. It is not about setting goals.

It’s ongoing and has to be seen as long term in

the way we build relationships and trust. I think

the art room is often perceived as an oasis in the

hospital. It can be seen as good and bad that we’re

not part of multi-disciplinary care teams within the

hospital. On one hand it gives us autonomy and

independence but it does mean we are always on

the edge. I think what we do is to make space to

allow people to find something within themselves.

I begin new sessions by

introducing myself on the

wards. I describe the art space.

I ask people to come and visit

the space and when they do

come, I encourage them to

respond to the materials in

their own way. I think when

people are given the opportunity

they can communicate an

idea or a thought visually

which they wouldn’t

normally say using words.

At the moment I’m creating a

project about reduced personal

space and I’m looking at how

people relate to personal objects

in such a reduced environment.

For example, there can be four

people living in a ward and

their personal possessions are

reduced to clothing and one

or two framed photographs.

Working with people with

dementia, for example, can

be rewarding and can also be

very frustrating. There can be

sessions when no two words

relate to each other and other

days when everything flows

for that same individual.

Sometimes people have to walk

past the art room many times

before they actually come in,

and even then it takes another

few weeks before they have the

confidence to do anything. We

have to be patient and ready to

help them build on this over time.

Bill created a video postcard

to send to his daughter in

Canada. He had never held

a video camera before and

he immediately created a

very personal relationship

with it, both in front of and

behind the camera. He filmed

other residents too and they

responded to the camera

very positively. There would

have been a very different

response if I had been holding

the camera. As artists working

in this way, we sometimes

have to make ourselves

invisible. Our role becomes

to help people translate a

thought or an idea by sharing

the creative skills we have.



Daisy Richardson


As an artist it is rewarding

to share what you know

with someone else and to

see amazing results simply

from that information being

passed on. Perhaps we can

be credited with providing

some of the pieces in the

jigsaw but the overall concept

and result belongs to the

individuals we are working

with. The art rooms are an

essential part of our work. They

counteract the impersonal

and often sterile atmosphere

of the hospital and provide

a neutral space for us all.

There are very few rewarding

ways of supporting yourself as

an Artist. This is one of them.

When an individual piece of work

is completed for the first time

by one of the patients, you can

see an amazing pride in that

achievement and it’s always

backed up by support from

other patients in the room.

The training programmes offered

to us are really important and

I’ve picked up lots of new skills

through attending them.

Overall I’ve become more

patient by my involvement in

this kind of work, which has to

be good for my own practice.


Alice Shambrook



The paintings don’t feel as though they come

from me. The paint and the brushes take over. I

think I’ve got an Artist’s name. ‘Alice Shambrook’.

I used to work for years and years in a shop in

Sauchiehall Street opposite Glasgow School

of Art. I used to stand in the doorway of the

shop and look up at the School of Art and all

the magic that spilled out of there. Now I’m

an Artist and I’m a part of that same magic.

When I had my stroke I felt like a nobody and a

nothing. Now I feel like someone special when

people say ‘Alice, is that your painting over

there?’ and I say ‘Yes, that’s my painting.’

You see art should be part of the world of

all the ordinary people like me who never

had a chance to be part of the magic.

I think

I’ve got

an artist’s



Dr Keith Beard FRCP Edin





Flashes of realization come to me through

personal experiences. I remember one long

stay patient. She used to crochet dishcloths

for the hospital fairs. They were grey and

I remember always associating the grey

dishcloths she was crocheting with her as a

person. Then one day I saw that she had gone

to the art room with one of the artists. She

was completing an acrylic painting of flowers

in very vivid primary colours and I suddenly

realized that I’d completely missed the point.

For a very long time after that incident, I related

to my patients in a different kind of way and

I hope that incident will remain with me as

long as I am working with elderly people.

The other important moment for me in relation

to Art in Hospital was when I finally understood

that the artists weren’t trying to prove

anything through the work they were doing

with patients. They were open, non-prejudiced,

non-judgemental and weren’t setting any goals.

Barbara had always explained to me that the

work wasn’t therapy but I needed to understand

that by seeing it. There was simply an open

acceptance of everyone’s ability and the artists

were sharing these values with my patients.

There was absolutely no sense of imposition.

I don’t know how to measure success in this area

of work. I don’t know if it reduces dependency

on medication. I don’t know if a growth in self

confidence and happiness means a lesser sense

of dependence. There is speculation amongst

my colleagues that the art workshops keep

some of our patients going. I personally had

a patient who I firmly believe found an added

strength to get through her surgery because of

wanting to get back to an unfinished painting.

But to actually measure the cost and benefit

in this area is extraordinarily difficult. What I

do know is that Art in Hospital has been going

for over 13 years and innumerable people have

benefited from this project. Let’s face it, within

the current financial constraints and pressures

of the National Health Service a lot of people

must be lobbying to keep them going. I think

of myself as a Lobbyist for Art in Hospital and

strongly defend their funding wherever I go.

I remember Art in Hospital producing a patient,

Crawford Mitchell’s solo painting show. It was

an extraordinary event but the real moment for

me came later, when I was watching him create

new work in the hospital. He knew exactly what

he was doing and he was clear and focused. As

he became ill and started to disappear, so too

did his work. I think it was at that time that

I understood the work of Art in Hospital.



Chris Aiton


I feel relaxed and peaceful

when I’m here. I’ve never been

forced or even asked to come.

It was just a suggestion that

I might enjoy myself. But it’s

more than enjoyment working

with the artists. It’s something

that makes me feel very proud.

I used to knit and I was always

knitting for the family. Now I

paint and that’s what the family

get from me now, my painting.

It’s completely brilliant doing

painting. My family think it

is too. They all came down

to the Art Fair. Everyone got

dressed up and they all came

down to see my painting.

I used to knit…

now I paint.




Maria Vannini



…the nursing staff

think of Sam in

relation to his art,

Sam, the Artist…

The artists bring a sense of wonder that is so

often lost in an institution. You can call it what

you like but I call it wonder. It would be disastrous

to lose that from this hospital for patients and

staff. The artists have a very special way of seeing

the patients. When people spend large periods

of time in hospitals they become very dependent

and somehow through the art patients are given

back some of that lost independence. What a gift?

Sam never painted before. It’s hard to believe

that now because the nursing staff think of

Sam in relation to his art, Sam, the artist who

is always painting. With his growth in selfconfidence

and self-esteem I have seen a

new physical and mental strength in him.

Sarah had always refused to join any group.

Now I see her confidant, happy and smiling.

She still won’t go to any other group but

she doesn’t miss going to the art room.


Alex McKenzie




The role of the NHS in Continuing Care is changing

dramatically. Care for the Elderly is becoming less

about clinical intervention and more and more

about ensuring continuing quality of life.

A care package should in theory comprehensively

include priority services and non mainstream

services. Once patients have been discharged

from hospital, we have to consider rehabilitation

and a range of activities to enhance quality of life

and most importantly to avoid readmittance.

We all see the benefits of the work

of Art in Hospital although the

measurable benefits are less easy

to document. I have to measure

numbers, capacities, facilities.

The arts funders have to support

us with the non measurable

benefits of the arts, because their

evaluation systems must take

into account the artists and the

work, which we, within the health

sector cannot do. The aspirations

that we have for holistic provision

for elderly people are much

greater than what we can provide

financially. I can only see those

tensions getting worse. We are

currently looking at social models

of care for the elderly and how to

deliver social care models more

effectively. The pilot projects we

set up with Art in Hospital are in

recognition of those changes

in thinking.




Maureen Henderson OBE




I first found out about Art in Hospital in 1993 at

Cowglen as part of the Continuing Care facility.

I began by seeing the work as diversional therapy

and welcomed it in that context but over the last

10 years my views have changed as I understand

the work more. It’s essential for Art in Hospital

to continue and I honestly believe that the

majority of nursing staff are of the same opinion.

There are so many negative stories

about the health service; it’s good to

have a success story. Art in Hospital

has a real credibility because of the

sensitivity the artists have to working

within the confines of a hospital and

because of the quality of work the

patients produce with the support

of the artists. I remember talking to

someone who had been in the art

sessions who told me it was the first

time he had something different to

talk to his relatives about. There’s

an important knock on effect too.

Families can gain a new respect for their

relatives who they may have begun to

see primarily as a patient. That can be

very important for example in a family

discussion about the future of a patient.


Life is very dull for people in long term

care. I was delighted to see that Art in

Hospital had extended their services

to the spinal and rehabilitation units.


Sam O’Boyle


I was brought up in the East End

of Glasgow and you didn’t do

art in the East End of Glasgow

when I was a boy. I come to

paint here now twice a week.

I’d come every day if the artists

were here. I like to work with

acrylic. I like charcoal too, but

it’s difficult to control my hands

so the charcoal smudges easily

if you can’t keep a steady hand.

I’ve tried water colours too but

somehow I always go back to

acrylics for the effect I want.



Maggie Maxwell


Hospitals are microcosms of communities

and within every community, there is always

an Artist. It is a fundamental given with

Art in Hospital that the artists are always

professionally trained and interested in their

own practice. I never question that assurance.

Because of this principle, there is a consistently

high quality of engagement and of work.

I have always fought for the arts funding bodies to

recognize this area of work and to mainstream it

as core provision. Sustainable funding is essential

for the development of the work. It has to be

about partnerships between the arts funders and

the health boards. Between us all, there has to be

an endorsement of artists working in institutions

like hospitals, hospices, day care centres.

In the end it comes down to basic humanity

doesn’t it? Doctors, administrators, patients,

artists, managers. We all know the value of this

kind of provision, we all want to offer it to

patients, we all want to support artists who

choose to work in this field. We see the results.

All of this goes without saying. The problem is

putting the jigsaw together so that we maximize

funding opportunities and take these projects

forward. The evidence base is growing and now

there are mapping exercises to monitor what

is happening in the area of art and health.




Gill Keith



I remember this incredible feeling of relief when I

first found the art space at the hospital. I nearly cried

when someone offered me a choice of teas and a

choice of biscuits. Actually, I think I did cry, with relief.

The circumstances of my life had changed traumatically

overnight and the contact with the artists was the first

time that I was offered the opportunity to acknowledge

that change and to express what was happening inside

my head. It was a totally safe space for that expression

and there were no expectations or assumptions

about what I could or couldn’t do. The artists gave me

information. They responded to what I was trying to say

visually and allowed me to process those thoughts.

Art in Hospital provided me with a level of sanity and self

recognition that I thought I had almost lost. I didn’t know

how to do ‘life’ any more in this new situation. I remember

the feeling of self-affirmation when I was painting and I

realised that the way I felt when I was painting was the

way I had to make myself feel in my day to day life.






This document was made possible through additional funds outwith the core programme.

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