For patients in intensive care and HDU, the environment can be frightening and disorientating. Sense of time disappears and without a view out, any connection to life outdoors and weather conditions is hard to maintain. This week at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough we met with patients, staff and relatives who generously shared their experiences of the critical care environment and of delirium. The importance of environment, sound and the view from hospital bed was stressed by all. The next stage of the En’Light’en project will focus on critical care and whether the creative application of light and imagery (view) can bring a sense of connection and orientation to patients, staff and relatives who spend hours, days, weeks and, for some, years in this stressful environment.
After an exciting 2017, work completed during the Leverhulme residency was presented to the public at Ouseburn Open studios, stimulating interest and discussion around the theme of light and well-being. Work was exhibited at 36 Lime Street and this provided the opportunity for me to share information about the project, outlining the key achievements over the last 12 months. The residency has enabled new collaborations, extending my artistic practice. The main achievements for 2017 are summarised as follows:
• Prismatic Light Shelves – a daylight installation in Wolfson Building, Queen’s Campus, Stockton on Tees
• Installation of ‘Shoal’, a suspended glass sculpture, in Bioscience Department, Durham Campus
• Detailed study of the fall of light in HDU at James Cook University Hospital and consultation with lighting experts
• Dynamic light panel installation in Pain Unit, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
• Light in the Darkness – an installation in the garden at Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle upon Tyne
• Dynamic daylight installation – dayroom, Marie Curie Hospice
• Collection of qualitative and quantitative feedback from a wide audience
• Collaborative work with scientists, academics, architects, engineers and health care professionals including a detailed study of the High Dependency Unit, James Cook University hospital
• Presentation of the project at an International Symposium in Berlin
• Presentations to staff and students at Durham University
• New links with academics across a range of disciplines and potential future collaborations identified
• Dedicated University webpage for “Enlighten “ project (https://www.dur.ac.uk/wolfson.institute/research/)
• Exhibition of work associated with the project at Cheeseburn Sculpture Park from May-September 2017
• Presentation of work at Ouseburn Open Studios 2017
This residency has provided an exciting opportunity for me to develop my work in new ways. The experience of working within the University setting has been rich and rewarding and I have particularly valued the opportunity to meet and discuss the associated themes of the project with individuals from a wide range of specialisms. The experience of engaging with an audience in stressful hospital/hospice environments has informed my practice and fuelled my passion to work as an artist in such spaces. Art and light has been shown to bring enrichment to the experience of such spaces and I will continue to develop this work and seek further opportunities in such challenging settings.
The En’Light’en project is growing and will continue throughout 2018 when I will develop further this exciting work.
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
• Appointment as Leverhulme Artist in Residence, Durham University, January 2017
• 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.