Arts charity transform dementia unit with artwork

Hospital rooms

19 September 2017

Hospital Rooms’ latest project will take place at Garnet Ward, a unit for older people with dementia and other challenges in Highgate Mental Health Centre.

Participating artists

Richard Wentworth, Sutapa Biswas, Aimee Parrott, Michael O’Reilly, Tim A Shaw, Yukako Shibata, Sue Dunkley.
Hospital Rooms is delighted to announce a new project that will take place in collaboration with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. We will commission world class artists to create a series of dementia friendly, artistic environments for the Garnet Ward in Highgate Mental Health Centre, which is a 14 bed unit for older people (65+) with dementia and other challenges. Our artists will work in genuine partnership with mental health professionals, dementia care residents and carers in the design and implementation of this project.
By enabling an intergenerational co-production process between world class artists and the unit community, we hope to empower residents to meaningfully contribute to the project. Each artist will capitalise on the older residents’ own skills, knowledge and experiences to guide their work, while also referring to existing research in the area of dementia environments and the King’s Fund EHE Environmental Assessment Tool. This process will also ensure that all designs and artworks will be entirely fit for purpose (hygiene, safety, security, durability) for this particular mental healthcare setting.
In addition, the family of celebrated artist Sue Dunkley have donated a piece to Hospital Rooms for display in the Garnet Ward. Dunkley is in the later stages of dementia and has recently moved to a local care home. She had a solo exhibition at Alison Jacques Gallery in July 2017, which presented a series of significant drawings and paintings from the 60’s to the 80’s.
We will also programme a series of 6 tailored workshops that complement and illuminate the art that is installed and enable creative activity on site. These workshops will be designed to be suitable for older people who have dementia or other challenges and we will accommodate different levels of ability. These workshops can also be attended by carers.
By bringing about creative collaboration with the wider community and facilitating a social environment with rich interactions, this project has the potential to affect a radical change agenda in the way elder care is viewed and delivered.
The project is funded by Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation and through the generosity of Hospital Rooms’ friends and supporters. We are also grateful to Colart who have donated high quality artist materials for the project through their brand Liquitex.

Notes to editors

A series of recent reports resoundingly highlight the benefits of visual and participatory arts for older people in mental health settings. In particular, the arts have been shown to (1):
  • Improve alertness, happiness, positive emotional state and independence
  • Improve social interaction, verbal and non verbal communication and improve face name recognition
  • Decrease fear, anxiety and agitation
  • Aid bonding between service users and caregivers
1. The validity of the arts as an effective and legitimate contributor to healthcare in older people, delivering benefits across a wide variety of health priorities, has been corroborated in four major evidence reviews in recent years that summarise 60 international peer-reviewed research studies. These included Age and Opportunity, 2006; Cantora-Binkley et al., 2010; Baring Foundation, 2011; Mental Health Foundation 2011.
Hospital Rooms: is a mental health charity that believes in the enduring power of the arts to instil value, dignity and wellbeing in people. Our aim is to disrupt the barriers that limit access to art and culture for people using mental health services. The charity has undertaken projects at the Snowsfields Adolescent Unit in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and the Phoenix Unit and Recovery College at South West London and St George’s Trust with artists such as Nick Knight, Gavin Turk and Assemble among others.
Hospital Rooms was co-founded by artist Tim A Shaw and curator Niamh White.
Hospital Rooms Registered Charity Number: 1168101 / 1 Godley VC House, Bethnal Green, London, E2 0LP

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I) provides high quality, safe and innovative care to our patients in the community, in their homes or in hospital. They provide services for adults of working age, adults with learning
difficulties, and older people in the London area. They currently deliver the majority of care to residents in the London Boroughs of Camden and Islington. However, they also provide substance misuse services in Westminster, and a substance misuse and psychological therapies service to people living in Kingston.
The Trust is also a member of University College London Partners (UCLP), one of the world’s leading academic health science partnerships.
In addition they have specialist programmes which provide help and treatment for:
  • Veterans living in London
  • Young people caught in the cycle of gang culture
  • Older people suffering from dementia and other age related mental health conditions

Garfield Weston Foundation

The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded grant-making trust established in 1958. Since it began the Foundation has donated over £960 million to charities across the UK. In the last financial year, the Foundation donated over £60 million. From small community organisations to large national institutions, the Foundation supports a broad range of charities and activities that make a positive impact in the communities in which they work. Over 1,500
charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants. 

Arts Council England

ACE champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. They support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, they invested £1.9 billion of
public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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