Palliative Care, Research and Engagement
I’m currently conducting my research and engagement phase for a commission of new photographic works which will be on permanent display on the Palliative Care ward for the new East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington.
The commission ‘ A portrait of East Lothian’ is small part of a much wider art strategy with many other artist involved, the whole project is being delivered by Round Table Projects.
Through a series of visits to a Palliative care facility meeting staff, patients and relatives I have gathered anecdotal research about people’s thoughts, feelings and interests in East Lothian.
I used black and white documentary imagery to conduct prelimanary research, taking hand made prints into hospital rooms to talk with people in a very privileged and sensitive setting.
From initial research into the priming effect that words such as ‘old’, ‘ageing’ and elderly have on our own minds I began to focus in and work in a way with empathy which induced a sense of slowing down in the photographic work.
Employing only medium and large format photography to visit and revisit sites around East Lothian which patients and families mentioned during discussions I made a number of photographs with a sense of contemplation. Taking these photographs onto the wards became an opportunity for more discussion about East Lothian.
After these initial meetings in hospital bedrooms I wanted to create a participatory piece which people could easily and accessible get involved with.
I made a small intervention on the wall in the care facility, a grid pattern of images which participants were invited to colour in, with their choice of colour. Asking people to add colour to their favourite image.
The small act of mark making onto the photographs invites people to take part is something which involves the primacy of touch. There is also a collective part to the work, that of the idea of everyone adding something small to create something which goes beyond and is bigger than themselves.
The whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts.
I hope to move forward to discover and make work which deals with the slowing down approach, looking into landscape work that can not only address ideas of the Human Condition by also explore the concepts of deep time, time which exists beyond our own perceptions and our own life span.