Artists’ Helping Hand

Posted Friday, August 9th, 2013

Staff at University Hospital Llandough caring for older people with mental health problems have been getting hands on help from local artists, following support from Age Cymru’s Gwanwyn Festival. 
Students from the Cardiff School of Art and Design were asked to submit concepts for a piece of art to help change the hospital environment for older people.

The brief, issued as part of Age Cymru’s Gwanwyn Festival celebrating creativity in older people, also called for something that could help staff engage with patients.
Simone Joslyn, Clinical Project Lead – Adult Mental Health Unit at UHL, said the winning piece, designed by Adam McGee-Abe, Liz Alison and Joseph Simon Murray, had ticked all the boxes.

“ “The work is a tactile piece so it not only looks striking but it acts as an assessment tool too. It helps to see what patients are capable of doing and also acts as a conversation starter to help older people and staff engage.  A lot of wards have shown interest in but has been given a home on Ward East 10. The piece is called spring but we’re looking at doing ones for the other seasons too which I’m sure will be offered a home on a number of wards as staff have been really enthusiastic about this first piece.”

Liz Alison, one of the artists involved, said

“We are delighted to have been commissioned to work towards such a worthwhile cause. Promoting an innovative and collaborative solution to improve people’s well-being is something we are passionate about.  We firmly believe this is the way forward in creating new bridges of communication and hope that our “spring” unveiling in University Hospital Llandough will create a seed of growth for further projects to come.”

The project was run in conjunction with Age Cymru. Phil Thomas – Artistic Director of the Gwanwyn Festival, part of Age Cymru, said it was good way to get younger people thinking about issues facing older patients.  He said:

“We are proud and privileged to have been able to give these young graduates their first professional commission after university and to have been a part of the creation of a wonderful hospital environment at Llandough.  The Gwanwyn commission for Adam, Liz and Joseph to create a piece of tactile art was part of a larger strand of work within the festival to encourage the use of art in new ways within hospital settings. We are pleased to have been able to provide an opportunity for some of our brightest young minds to turn their thoughts towards the needs of older people.”