the hospital project

the hospital project is a derby silk mill museum project.  through financial support from derby city council the project investigated how the taking of collection objects into a hospital can promote well being in the patients the project interacts with.

my involvement began last summer when i took part in an ideation session with members of the museum staff.  as the project progressed i was invited to become involved in the making of project furniture and delivering the experiences in the hospital.

the team at the museum includes several members with experience of delivering sessions in the hospital environment.  as the project evolved it emerged that we needed two pieces of furniture to take to the project.


a chair to sit on next the bed of the patient as there are not many chairs on the wards.  wheeled to make it easily moved around the wards.  with drawers so the objects and items associated with making can be easily transported.  as a result of a throwaway comment in the heat of discussion the back was clear acrylic with leds to light it up.  this proved to be a feature that opened up the conversation as we moved around the wards.


full size prototype


shelves for non ward places in the hospital.  in the early stages of planning it was intended to take objects into day rooms and waiting rooms.  i worked on making a shelving system that could be assembled on site and moved between the hospital and museum in a taxi.  i got the idea to a second iteration prototype phase by the time the project plans had evolved to realise that the extra spaces in the hospital wouldn’t be viable to work in.

the project continued with the chair alone.

on site at the hospital the chair became known as the museum in miniature as we introduced it to the patients and staff.  working with the assistant curator of the museum we added to the objects in the chair in response to what we learnt of the patients we spoke to.

i found working in the hospital in this way very challenging to begin with. by the end of the six weeks of the hospital visits i had grown in confidence and understanding of the hospital environment and actually really enjoyed it.  i made sure that my enjoyment and enthusiasm was demonstrated with a smile and attitude to inspire the patients to talk to us.  the project would not have been possible without the on site support of the air arts co-ordinators working at london road hospital.

in early january 2017 it was confirmed that for air art’s 10th anniversary the staff at london road wanted to exhibit pictures of the objects alongside some of the stories we heard from the patients for their celebration exhibition.

a few days ago, working with the assistant curator again, we photographed 8 of the objects in various locations in the museum.  as an experiment i made a short timelapse of the shoot.

the exhibition opens sometime in march.  it’ll be a fitting conclusion to a very enjoyable hospital project.


***** update ******


in november 2017 the project was awarded runner up in the heart of the community category at the east midlands heritage awards.

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