The launch of this project has been marked by two installations at Cheesburn Sculpture Park, Northumberland. The first – ‘En’Light’en: Hayloft’, May 2016, was a temporary installation of dichroic glass which transformed the space above the stables into a spectrum of projected light and colour. The second is entitled ‘En’Light’en: Taxus Baccata’ and is a suspended sculpture in an ancient yew tree. Both works bring light into the darkened spaces they inhabit and invite public response to the experience. Over the next 12 months, further installations will take place in a range of settings and biomedical scientists at Durham University will monitor the impact of these works on the people who inhabit those spaces. This blog will record each stage of this exciting project as it develops.
Installed in August 2017 in the Biosciences Department of Durham University, this stunning installation sweeps through the space and is transforming the atrium with an amazing display of light and colour. On loan from the National Glass Centre and located in the centre of the space, the installation by artist Dr Laura Johnston is inspired by the movement of fish. It joins the many specimens of animals on display in the atrium, including fossils and the ancient skeleton of a giant prehistoric deer! Phase 1 of ‘Shoal’ is now insitu and the installation is set to grow over the next year.
This dynamic glass and light sculpture, installed by specialist marine riggers, forms part of the work undertaken by Leverhulme Artist in Residence, Dr Laura Johnston, around the theme of light. Bioscientist, Dr Paul Chazot, and Dr Laura Johnston are interested in monitoring the impact of the installation on students and staff and will be inviting reponses and observations from those who spend time in the space over the coming months.
ART, LIGHT AND WELLBEING
• Ongoing collaborative work with scientists, academics, architects and health care professionals
• The creation of 6 new commissions
• Installation of the new works in two healthcare settings – Marie Curie Hospice and James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
• Installation of 2 new works in Cheeseburn Sculpture Park
• Installation of work in Hatfiled College, Durham
• Installation of work in Wolfson Building, Queens Campus, Stockton on Tees
• Exhibition of work in progress at the ‘Process’ exhibition, Gallery space, 36 Lime Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne
• Presentation of the En’Light’en Project at an International Symposium in Berlin
• Collection of qualitative and quantitative feedback
Evaluation of the impact of the installations extended beyond anecdotal reporting, with scientists and academics from Durham University applying quantitative methods to measure a range of variables. Changes in the quality and the levels of light, both before and after installation of the works were monitored. Responses of those experiencing the works were measured and behavioural observations illustrated changes in how people moved in the spaces and where they chose to sit or spend time following installation. These changes confirmed the qualitative reporting, obtained through the questionnaires and one to one discussions, which demonstrated very positive responses to light the installations.
The project has enabled me to explore new materials and working methods and the opportunity to collaborate with others and engage with the audience has been a rich and powerful experience. There are many ways in which this project will guide and inform my future artistic practice and in my current position of Artist in Residence at Durham University, I will continue to build on this exciting collaborative work, uniting art and scientific research.
Presenting the En’Light’en project at the Velux Symposium in Berlin, then engaging with the audience was a fantastic opportunity to share ideas on the theme of light and wellbeing and to explain the aims of the En’Light’en project to a wide international audience. Contributors from across the world included architects, lighting designers and researchers, including Omar Gandhi, acclaimed Canadian architect and James Carpenter (USA), a foremost authority on daylighting.
This international symposium had as it’s focus how light can be used to create buildings that promote human health and well-being. Attracting world renowned architects; designers; engineers and researchers, it provided an exciting forum for the exchange of ideas and for the sharing of innovative work in this field. This was a fantastic opportunity to present the En’Light’en project to an international audience and to make exciting links with others passionate about light!