Looking Through a Window is an online resource developed in response to the restrictions of Covid 19 so that Art in Hospital can continue to provide our art programme to patients and staff across NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
The resource runs in parallel with the other remote strands of work with patients and postal projects on Instagram and twitter
Funded by NHSGGC, University of Glasgow, Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life & Postcode Community Trust
Websites : www.aih-throughawindow.com www.artinhospital.com
Rebecca's & Harry's reflections
We work as Artist Practitioners with Art in Hospital (AiH) facilitating art sessions with patients in Care for The Elderly and Stroke Rehabilitation, and are part of a team of 12 artists working across NHSGGC. The current social distancing restrictions in place with Covid 19 have impacted our professional practices in this role substantially. Being unable to work in person with patients in the hospitals has meant a significant shift in the way we can fulfil our roles; essentially requiring us to work remotely.
Adapting to remote working (working from home) poses challenges as creative professionals personally and professionally. Personally there are issues around balancing work with parental duties and home-schooling, loss of earnings through postponement of (other) projects and workshops, and adjustments to limitations in terms of physical work space.
Professionally we are impacted as person to person contact is a key aspect of the work we do, encouraging patients to express themselves and experiment through art-making is facilitated through the patient/artist relationship, through conversation, care and a person-centred approach.
Finding ways to maintain these relationships and keep in contact with the people and organisations we deliver our programmes to has underpinned the planning and development of our responses to Covid-19. Connecting with others through online social networks and platforms seemed like an immediate and accessible means for continuing ways of working with others remotely. It was suggested to the AiH team that we could develop a visual arts online resource - a website - that would support the people we work with to continue to make and develop their own art, and that would reflect and sustain the ways in which we deliver the arts programme and sessions.
As well as working together at AiH we have worked collaboratively on projects in other contexts. These collaborative projects have had a socially engaged dimension with awareness raising and increasing access being key drivers behind the project. This has meant that alongside the delivery of the art workshops our practice has involved working across organisations, building networks and opening up dialogues with others who have similar experiences and interests and who share the similar objective of raising awareness. Using online platforms has been a means to create these networks and to try to reach out to the wider audience: disseminating the work from projects through a podcast, online blog and website and social media sites.
Drawing on this previous experience working together, we thought that we could transfer some elements of this practice to our current situation. Our experience has shown us that although the online environment cannot replace in-person art sessions, it can function as a parallel space that offers similarly rich inspiration and guidance, encouraging a focus away from the routine nature of the medical environment, and towards creativity in its many forms.
We wanted to offer a variety of stimuli that would encourage creativity and wellbeing. To this end, we’ve organised the website into sections, one being more skills and activity based “CREATE”, where we’ve gathered demonstration videos and worksheets on drawing and painting methods made by the AiH team, as well as having a variety of photographs that could provide inspiration to begin a piece of artwork. The other main section “LISTEN, WATCH, READ” is thematically organised and provides a looser form of inspiration, hopefully wide in scope, that has the potential to spark journeys in the imagination and memory, for example the section “ISLAND” presents links to archive film, sound pieces, and narrative focused on Scottish Hebridean and Western Isles life and their legacies.
Some of the other themes we’ve included are popular in the regular art sessions, along with material the artists on the team find of interest or thought might offer opportunity for relaxation and reflection.
The artists on the team had a number of ideas for working remotely which included postal projects; with art materials and resources being sent in to our places of work, and postcard and book projects. The development of the new website allowed us to house all these strands of remote working together and open up the arts programme to the wider audience.
Rebecca Wilcox: I have worked for Art in Hospital for eight years, alongside pursuing my own practice which encompasses writing, audio, video and performance. I’m interested in expanded publishing and its relationship to specific moments in time as well as the voice. I have recently worked on an artist book project with Lotte Gertz for Art in Hospital, which has involved selecting artworks, writing and designing two books representing the practices of two patients we worked with closely. I also recently worked with Harry Tritton delivering audio and visual art workshops at WASLER arts, working towards a podcast series. Other recent projects include commissions for Tectonics Festival, Radiophrenia, and for LUX Artists' Moving Image Festival with Amelia Bywater, and writing projects with MAP and Tate.
Harry Tritton: I have worked with Art In Hospital for four years. I have also worked with Women’s Aid South Lanarkshire and East Renfrewshire (WASLER) for five years where I established the arts programme WASLER ARTS, co-ordinating the art workshops, projects and public exhibitions and events there. Part of my practice involves working collaboratively with others; with the women who participate in the art workshops at WASLER in the creation of artworks, or with other artists and creative practitioners to plan, develop and deliver projects and workshops. Recent projects such as the WASLER ARTS MAKE WAVES podcast launched for the 16 Days of Action 2019 was developed in collaboration with Rebecca Wilcox alongside the delivery of audio and visual art workshops. My creative practice incorporates drawing, collage, textiles, ceramics, sound. I am interested in Art Therapy as well as Feminist and Socially Engaged Arts Practices and the positive potential of art to affect change on a personal and individual level as well as on the social and macro level.