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Our feature on The Janice Forsyth Show

Last week, the Art and Therapeutic Design (ATD) programme at Little France was featured on Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth Show (start at 1:05 to jump to our story.) Artist partners Andy Campbell, architect and Director of Dress for the Weather, sculptor Kate Ive and Edinbugh and Lothians Health Foundation’s Arts Manager Susan Grant talked through the ATD programme, its scope and purposes.

For a lot of people it’s very important for their emotional wellbeing to make the transition to the new building as easy as possible.

Dress for the Weather will be working on multiple projects in the new building, one of which is a drop in centre where children and families can get respite from the hospital environment when they need it. After looking at the existing drop in spaces, Dress for the Weather was struck at how homely and non-clinical they are. To retain those qualities, they hope to create a connection between the new drop in space and the current space with patients and their families. Andy says, ‘For a lot of people it’s very important for their emotional wellbeing to make the transition to the new building as easy as possible.’ The design will also consider the importance of small things like bringing the kitchen closer to the entrance so a cup of tea is on hand, co-creating wall linings and providing more supportive furniture.

Kate Ive’s interview provides a detailed description of one of the 19 separate artworks she’s creating for the ATD programme called Old to New. She’s been looking individually at the three services that will be going into the new hospital to identify histories and stories that make them what they are. Working alongside Lothian Health Service archives, she will create informative artworks that will make up part of the wayfinding in the new hospital. As Kate says, ‘Hopefully creating little moments throughout the new hospital that are interesting for all the different people that are going to be visiting.’

I feel really lucky to have information from surgeons to put into the artwork.

For one particular project, she’s using fine gold wire to crochet ‘something that will look like a vortex tunnel’ to represent the angiograms that help neurosurgeons place brain stents in the right places. ‘All my projects start with research and trying to get to grips with what makes something special and individual and unique. Trying to identify little hidden intricacies and then working with them to create something that is hopefully going to be quite a beautiful sculptural object.’ Kate was able to spend time with brain surgeons who showed her the equipment they use and how stents are placed in the brain. ‘I feel really lucky to have that information to put into artwork.’ She decided to use the technique of crocheting fine gold wire to create a representation of the delicate platinum brain stents in something resembling a brain. These pieces will be held in cabinets created especially for them by cabinet maker Joachim King.

Artists were commissioned on quality of work and their commitment to therapeutic enhancement for patients and staff.

In describing the ATD programme as a whole, Susan Grant says art was commissioned with ‘equal emphasis on high quality and service focussed therapeutic aim.’ Staff and patients were involved where possible in the commissioning process, shortlisting and interviewing. Artists have been selected not only on the quality of their work but also on the ability to ‘engage with people and their commitment to the therapeutic enhancement for patients and staff which can reduce stress, anxiety and provide distraction.’

Listen to the full story on The Janice Forsyth Show – jump to 1:05.