Catch up with our Artists in Residence

In June we took on six new artists in residence to support our award winning Creating with Care programme supported by Oxford Health Charity.

Catch up with our Artists in Residence

We have caught up with them to see how they are enjoying being part of Oxford Health and to find out about the projects they have been involved with.

Sarah Moncrieff – Artist

“On my days working in the hospitals as artist in residence, I feel incredibly lucky.  To have the time to be able to bring creative activity to people in hospital and to staff is an absolute joy and the appreciation shown to me by staff and patients has been wonderful.

“In my own practise I am a painter and I suppose I’m happiest working with patients with paint, and any kind of coloured media, (coloured pencils, pastels, felt tips etc).

“I have visited Bicester and Didcot community hospitals so far and very often I start my time there hearing patients (and staff) tell me they “can’t do art” or “haven’t done art since school” and therefore think they cannot use paint or pencils.  Luckily, I’m well used to hearing this and after a short demonstration or gentle coaxing I can usually get people involved in some way.

“The challenge has been to find a way for very busy staff to get involved and my butterfly project at Didcot seemed to crack this. By supplying staff with stencils and templates of butterflies they could decorate one with pens or cut one out very quickly, and I gathered together a large number of beautifully decorated butterflies.  I put these together with the butterflies created by the patients into one bright, colourful and joyful piece which is now hanging in the ward corridor.

“If you see us around, please do get involved or give us ideas and suggestions for projects that you’d like to do or see.”

Mary Chamberlain – Artist

“It feels a privilege to be involved with this project at this point in time.  I love using art and creativity to enable and equip patients and staff to enjoy the art materials and the process of making something.  Meeting different people on the wards and then sometimes hearing a little of their stories enables me to prepare a selection of handmade stencils and choose specific images and step-by-step drawing guides and art materials they might enjoy.  Patients and staff often choose images that are based around flowers or nature – but there is really no limit!”

“It was my first time at Didcot on August 2 – patients used pencils, water-soluble coloured pencils and watercolour paints to work with the stencils and draw freehand to create images based around birds, animals and the landscape around Oxfordshire.”

Pat Winslow – Poet and storyteller

“I can’t believe how quickly these weeks are speeding past. I’ve visited my third hospital now and have already amassed a huge body of poems following conversations with patients and staff. Each poem offers a unique insight or view of the world. Sometimes I’m struck by the universality of our experiences. Other times I’m amazed by the things I didn’t know.

“The amount of work that goes into getting a person well again is a story that isn’t often told because there are so many components to it, so many people working to help bring that person to wellness – everyone from cleaners to surgeons.

“Nurses and therapists do an absolutely amazing job. Spend a day with them and you’ll find out.

“Today I’ve been working with people who talked about playground games, fishing, learning to swim, welding (a whole new language for me!) and the making, measuring and fitting of prosthetics in countries in the aftermath of wars and conflict.

“Never underestimate a person’s capability to do a fine good thing. It’s been fun reading poems to people, too, to see the imagination light up their faces. As one nurse said today, “Get to know the person, not the patient.” Hospitals are full of people!

You can see Pat read one of her poems at Witney Hospital

Roosa Leimu-Brown – Dancer

Roosa has recently been working at Bicester community Hospital she said: “I loved the connections that are created through the music with the patients, one lady commented this week that the music and the experience feeding her soul was lovely’.

“I have also led some 5 minute staff meditation sessions which have been greatly appreciated by all staff who took part, who said they would love to have more sessions as they can feel the stress melting away.”

Tom Cross – Storyteller & Artist

“I have been running 12 sessions, six each at Witney and Abingdon Community Hospital. In the sessions I have been drawing story’s that patients and staff have told me about themselves. The stories have covered all sorts of things from, traveling, people’s family and histories the loves of their life’s, pets and much more.

“I have also run workshops were patients and staff have been doing their own drawings. In these sessions people have been drawing things that give them pleasure.  As well as them enjoying being part of a group who is sharing the experience of sitting around a table drawing and talking.

“Throughout these sessions I have met inspiring and amazing people who have shown great creativity and energy.”

Dionne Freeman – Artist

“The residency with Oxford Health Charity has been a really positive experience. Having the opportunity to get to know staff and patients over a regular period of time has enabled confidence in creative approaches to grow in both staff and patients. We have been making lots of different creations including fabric wall hangings, wooden bird sculptures and other colourful pieces to brighten up bedsides. The power of creativity in bringing people together, building confidence and self-esteem has been really exciting to be part of with this project.”

See a selection of images relating to the different projects all the artists have been involved with below.

It is wonderful to hear all the unique experiences of our new Artists in Residence. If you missed our original article introduction article about our artists click this link here to read more.

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Published: 4 August 2021