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      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.


      Alex Menzies, music fellow, presenting early research findings with collaborator, Florence To. Photo by Chris Scott

      The DCN Creative Research Artist Fellows recently gave a talk at the National Museum of Scotland. Around 100 attendees came to listen to the three fellows discussing their working activity and research interests which involve dynamic arts/science collaboration. It was the first time that Gavin Inglis (Language & Cognition Fellow), Alex Menzies & Florence To (Music Fellow) and Susana Cámara Leret (Design Fellow) spoke publicly about their initial findings and approach and was followed by the opportunity for members of the audience to ask them questions. Further information on their activities will follow over the course of the year.

      Audience listening to research proposals at National Museum of Scotland. Photo by Chris Scott


      From left to right, Gavin Inglis (Language and Cognition Fellow), Alex Menzies (Music Fellow), Florence To (Installation artist, collaborating with Alex Menzies), Susana Camara Leret (Design Fellow), Prof Peter Sandercock, Emeritus Professor of Medical Neurology at The University of Edinburgh. Photo by Chris Scott


      Audience listening to the panel discussion at National Museum Scotland. Photo by Chris Scott

      Photo of Crafts Magazine article. Photo by Peter Marigold.

      Crafts Magazine, an international design journal, have featured the work of one of the project’s designers Peter Marigold.  Peter has been commissioned to create a cast glass reinforced concrete wall, known as the Spine Wall, which runs 188m through the hospital, including both outside areas and the main atrium space.

      The Spine Wall forms a unifying solid architectural feature that unifies inside and out and provides a key waymarking and orientation role. Skin textures from staff within each of the three services have been magnified to form three dimensional abstract panel forms.  These have been arranged to form a composition that sometimes can be viewed with a singular identity and sometimes as a fragmented pattern.

      Visualisation of Spine Wall proposal. Image by Peter Marigold.