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Kate Ive is the lead artist on ‘Old to New’; a project which aims to share the identity, history, and stories of the three institutions as they undergo a transition from their original sites to the new build at Little France. We asked her about the importance of preserving a sense of identity in a new building:
As the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services transition into their new purpose built hospital, it is important to look to the future whilst also preserving and acknowledging the histories and pasts of these services. There was a wealth of inspiration that could be drawn upon from the history of their individual identities for the ‘Old to New’ Artwork. During my research this was clear not just from the Lothian Health Services Archives but also from the hospital staff. They told me of the strong connections they feel with their current/old buildings and how their identities are still strongly intertwined with their locations and individual histories.  
      
Much of my practice draws upon the past as a starting point, creating tangible connections with our evolution and development. Working with these initial concepts, I aim to push these details forward, transforming them with hope for the future. I was given an abundance of tiny but significant details from the hospital users that stood out and needed to be captured and carried forward. These are the details that have come together to form the artwork. As such the ‘Old to New’ sculptures look to encapsulate some of the most significant moments so that they get brought into the new hospital, reminding the fledgling building of the strong foundations upon which it has been established.

Emma Varley’s ‘Dream-scape’ unfolds over six large scale light boxes which are a re-interpretation of the existing stained glass ‘A child’s garden of dreams’ found within the current Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Creative engagement with the patients inspired ideas of escapism, developing around stained glass and its ability to evoke reverence through the intensity of light as projected colour. 

Using an overhead projector, Emma explored light collages, placing coloured glass, translucent papers, found and personal objects on the surface to create ‘dream-scapes’. The ‘dream-scapes’ were photographed and digitally enhanced then printed to film for light box installation. 

         

The artworks are real and imagined; snapshots of a wider environment captured in portrait format to emphasise elements of strata linking to the surrounding environment. Flora and fauna dominate each scene; the hare perched high keeps watch over the meadows whilst being observed by the sun. A view over loch and glen with rabbit and swan who observe a single weed bearing its intricate root system, referencing energy and power echoed by wind turbines and the moon. Stag and eagle look towards the mountains protected by the willow pattern plate – a reference to dining, story telling, love and escapism. 

The artwork will be installed in the building’s restaurant on the fourth floor which will be open to all.

Daniel and William Warren of Warren Design have lead the design for the Pod and Waiting Spaces based on the theme of ‘Journeys of the Imagination’. The furniture, graphical illustrations, software and pieces of setworks have all been designed to inspire playful thinking and provide distraction. Early consultation with the play team and other members of staff emphasised the need for engaging spaces that were more ‘after school club’ than ‘playground environment’ encouraging children to stay within allocated waiting areas.  They have designed spaces that offer privacy for family groups that need it, large pieces of set which create a visual impact, table top play activities and hidden magical moments for children to discover whilst they wait. 

Guy Bishop’s mechanical sculptures

In order to create a strong link between the new hospital at Little France and the much loved old site they have used the recognisable Edinburgh buildings and architecture as a starting point and embroidered these with characters, making the space familiar yet dreamlike. Within the Pod, a sense of the city has been created from silhouettes of the skyline represented as wall murals and on large pieces of setworks with illustrations by Emily Hogarth. During a series of workshops at the beginning of the design process children drew their own versions of buildings and characters which Emily then used to create an imaginary city. The Scott Monument turns into a space rocket, tigers and other animals wander through the streets and up on a high ledge Edinburgh Castle transforms into a brooding dragon. 

Within the large structures are moments of discovery. A series of Augmented Reality viewers developed by Touzie Tyke allow children to see some of these characters come to life and move through the actual space. The dragon swoops down, birds fly around and hot air balloons drift up and out of the building. Also hidden within the structures are small mechanical sculptures created by city based artist Guy Bishop. Children can discover what really happens in the cellars beneath the Royal Mile and see local characters such as Greyfriars Bobby, Dolly the Sheep and the Penguin Parade come to life. 

Guy Bishop’s mechanical sculptures

 

Guy Bishop’s mechanical sculptures

 

Guy Bishop’s mechanical sculptures

Working closely with health-care specialist Teal, a range of furniture has also been developed for the project. A high backed sofa offers family groups privacy in a busy waiting room whilst other pieces are informed by animal shapes such as the Deer and Tortoise stools. As well as being practical pieces of furniture they will aid in children’s play and take them on a ‘Journey of the Imagination’ whilst they wait. 

Building on the success of the ‘Secret Garden’ installation at the current RHSC, a team (headed by artist  Alex Hamilton and Dr Oli Mival from the Napier University’s Centre for Interactive Design) have developed a projection system for forty five treatment rooms throughout the hospital which will offer up to twelve hours of tailored video projections for support and distraction whilst patients are undergoing a test, examination or procedure.

The film content was selected in three different ways, firstly through an open submission opportunity whereby artists and filmmakers were invited to submit an existing short film or moving image work for inclusion in the film library.

For the second strand of film library content Matt Lloyd, Director of Glasgow Short Film Festival (GSFF), selected a series of short animations from GSFF’s Family Animation Programme, while Adam Castle, Curator, ran an open call for film submissions for the film library through Edinburgh Artist Moving Image Festival networks.

Finally, a selection of films were commissioned from five artists around themes of nature, animation, abstraction, animals and people.  One film from each of the artist is shown below:

‘Watercolour Island: Kite Flying’ by Jack Lockhart

This film was inspired by the wide open spaces and the ever changing light of The Isle of Tiree’s beaches, and it captures some of the spirit of these special places. Jack Lockhart’s film-making process began with a walk on a beach. He used various techniques including watercolour painting, photography and video to capture images which were then brought together in a collage style using a mixture of editing and animation. Designed to be relaxing and engaging, the film has the feel of a moving painting with brush strokes giving it a handmade style.

 

 

‘Scotland’s Wildlife: Bumble Bees’ by Kris Kubik

Kubik’s short film focuses on colourful, playful bees and other insects. Evoking memories of Summer time, the film is intended to be engaging for young children and bring about positive emotions. Kubik filmed insects, mostly different subspecies of Bumblebees, close up and some of the footage is played back in slow motion to capture their minuscule movements and behaviours. Kubik said of his subjects “they are cute, funny looking, calm pollinators and very enjoyable to watch”.

 

 

‘Elements of Nature: Light’ by Holger Mohaupt and Tracey Fearnehough

To create their films exploring Light, Air and Water, Mohaupt and Fearnehough enlisted the help of a group of children. The children created mind maps for how to film these elements and the different ways in which they appear in nature. They were also asked to think about the ways in which these subjects could be relaxing and calming for children in hospital. For their film ‘Light’, the children came up with the words ‘sun, moon, torch, shadows, Christmas, fairy lights, sun in trees, reflections’. The artists used these words as an inspirational platform for the film. With the help of the children, the film sequences were shot during an outdoor workshop at Jupiter Artland, and the result is a film which is both eye catching and engaging.

 

 

‘Little Edinburgh’ by Nim Jethwa

Nim Jethwa’s short film was created to help patients at the RHSC to engage during procedures. Jethwa uses a tilt shift technique in order to capture a unique ‘toy town’ perspective of the everyday goings on in the city of Edinburgh. The film was shot over seven days in late November from various vantage points in and around the city. No drones were used, instead the artist obtained access to the vantage points from  various organisations and companies who were very willing to help. Jethwa described the filmmaking process as an “opportunity for me to explore the wonderfully multi-layered city”. The musical composition was created specifically for this film by Bristol musician Jilk.

Follow Nim Jethwa – Instagram: @nimvideo / Twitter: @nim_video

Earlier this month, NHS and Ginkgo staff were hosted by Dress for the Weather for a tour of fabrication and production sites across Glasgow to see and feel samples of materials going into the new RHSC and DCN. This is an exciting phase of the ATD programme, seeing drawings and conversations realised in the run up to installations.

Here, illustrations of DCN waiting area benches come to life at the Glasgow Sculpture Studios where samples have been produced.

 

 

 

Patterns for panels that will feature in interview rooms and sitting rooms have been informed by patients after a series of engagement workshops. Designed by Bespoke Atelier and fabricated by Kelsen, the images include references to The Meadows and a range of exotic animals. We’re pretty sure you’ll find a new animal hiding away somewhere every time you look at the printed panel!

 

 

 

After a first phase of calls for submissions from filmmakers and creative curators, five film makers and two curators have been appointed to develop film content for three channels that will be hosted on the building’s internal audio-visual system.

As part of the ATD programme’s multi-sensory design and distraction imagery project, channels will be used by clinicians and play therapists to distract patients during treatment procedures by encouraging them to relax, engage or focus during procedures or treatments.

Each channel will have three to four hours of commissioned content which will be played as an on-demand film sequence. The film content will be made up of short films or clips ranging from around one minute to thirty minutes in length.

A clinician accessing the distraction channels will be able to filter content according to a patient’s age, preferred subject matter and length of time of the procedure or treatment the patient will undergo.

The film library is seen as a tool to augment the current use of books, games and other distractions staff currently use and the filmmakers will create comparable distraction through the use of film. ‘Relaxing’ distraction is intended to calm and soothe the patient, whilst ‘engaging’ distraction is intended to hold the concentration of the patient for an extended period of time.

Meet the filmmakers and curators and see some of their application showreels and existing work:

Nim Jethwa
Drawing on the tilt shift/time lapse methods used in his wildly popular short film ‘Little Bristol’ and Nim Jethwa will create a new ‘Little Edinburgh’ short film.

Jack Lockhart
Jack Lockhart uses a distinctive animation style combining moving image and painting.

Kris Kubik
Kris Kubik will be working to create four short films, based on wildlife habitats and species with local footage from the Water of Leith.

Holger Mohaupt & Tracey Fearnehough
Filmmaker Holger Mohaupt will work with filmmaker and researcher in the use of film with young people, Tracey Fearnehough. Along with Art Sparks, part of the learning programme at Jupiter Artland, a sculpture park near Edinburgh, they’ll run workshops for children aged 4 – 12 years. From these workshops a 1- 3 minute film will be produced.

Adam Castle
Adam Castle is Founder and Head Curator of the Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival (EAMIF) which celebrates video art and artist’s film. With extensive access to artists and archive resources, Adam will start curating films from a database of 1300 short films.

Matt Lloyd
Matt Lloyd is Director of Glasgow Short Film Festival (GSFF), the largest short film festival in Scotland. He will draw on works screened on GSFF’s annual Family Animation Programme selected to appeal to all age groups.

Themes running through the entire ATD programme include patient distraction and personalisation in support of clinical provision. The programme aims to create a non-clinical, safe and therapeutic environment with areas of enhancement through the inclusion of integrated areas of colour, pattern, furniture within communal spaces to provide a patient focussed environment.

RHSC and DCN interview rooms, sitting rooms and drop in centre designed by Dress for the Weather show case our approach. In the RHSC drop in centre and waiting rooms, there will be a focus around an ‘anchor table.’ The idea for anchor tables came following engagement with staff, patients and families who said that sometimes, upsetting discussions happen in these spaces and it can feel awkward or unsure how to act. The anchor table, positioned in the middle of a room, acts as a center point and a place to focus a gaze and to help make difficult situations more navigable.
Image of interview room with anchor table
DCN waiting rooms will incorporate distraction walls and upgraded colour schemes. New artwork will include posters illustrating different medical procedures in an effort to help staff communicate what they do in a visual way. Upgraded furniture, designed with input from staff and patients, will suit a spectrum of body types, conditions and lengths of stay and will users to feel comfortable and secure. 
Image of a DCN waiting room

 

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Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in objects presented to patients are an actual means of recovery. Florence Nightingale, 1888

In the nearly 130 years since Florence Nightingale’s observations about the importance of objects of variety and colour in recovery, projects like ours have created places to put the observation into practice. As the evidence mounts that art and compassionately designed medical environments aid in healing and recovery, some of the artists commissioned to create works for the new building at Little France in Edinburgh are focusing on art and design as distraction.

Providing welcome distraction is an important aspect of the art and therapeutic design programme because it

  • enhances the patient experience of visiting and staying in hospital;
  • reduces patient stress
  • de-institutionalises spaces and allows for participation and personalization.

Distraction is a thread running through the work of over 30 artists on the programme and includes things like wall graphics that create soduku games, interactive bedside technology and multi-sensory therapy areas.

These works aim to contribute to the ongoing dialogue and contribute to best practice in creating a sense of place, helping people meet stress with dignity and create personalization through participation.

As the commissioned artists further develop their work, we will tell their stories and report on their progress on this blog. Subscribe to get weekly roundups of everything that’s new in the project and interesting around the world in the intersection of art, design and medicine.