CW+ Conversations: Drawing in Hospitals

CW+ Conversations is our arts in health webinar series, that was launched in January 2021 with the aim of bringing people together from different disciplines and settings, to share experiences and ideas, and – as a result – to find ways to improve and further innovate.

We have recently partnered with Saatchi Gallery to present a first-of-its-kind arts in health exhibition at the gallery. Journeys: The Healing Arts, is a selection of bespoke artworks from the CW+ art collection, commissioned to enhance the environment and improve patient outcomes at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

To coincide with the exhibition and the most recent in our arts in health webinar series, CW+ presented an online talk and Q&A. ‘Drawing in Hospitals – what is the role of mark making in contemporary healthcare?‘ brought together artists and professionals who specialise in this topic. They shared experiences and exchanged ideas about the role of drawing and mark making in contemporary healthcare and how these ideas can be optimised for the long-term.

Featured speakers included:

  • Nicola Holt, a psychologist for the Health Department at the University of the West of England (UWE). Nicola discussed the impact of art on patients suffering from chronic pain, anxiety and their general wellbeing, in addition to experiments proving that drawing can be a useful tool to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Anouk Mercier, a Fine Artist and Lead Technical Instructor for Drawing and Visual Studies at UWE. Drawing is central is Anouk’s work and she was also the first artist to work on our Drawn in Residence programme, where she explored the multiple roles of drawing at our hospitals including assessment, communication and wellbeing.
  • Gary Embury, a senior lecturer at UWE and has 20 years experience as an illustrator. Gary discussed how he uses reportage drawing as a visual journalistic tool and is currently involved in a number of reportage drawing related projects nationally and internationally.
  • Lucy Ward, an artist and senior lecturer in Drawing in the School of Art and Design at UWE. Drawing is central to Lucy’s work and she discussed how she is keen to move away from the idea of ‘good drawing’ but instead explore the use of drawing in ‘good communicating.’
  • Shawn Walker, a clinical academic midwife. Her research focuses on improving the safety of vaginal breech birth and she discussed how she has created drawn videos that have been successful in explaining and training healthcare professionals surrounding this important subject.
  • Emily Thomas, a freelance Reportage Artist and Visual Journalist. Emily discussed her heavily observational technique and her preference to draw on location, so she can fully immerse herself in a way that adds further depth to her work. As part of our CW+ Drawn in Residence II programme, Emily recently spent time with the Trust Volunteer team and created a series of artworks that capture the integral work they do.
  • Tim King, a Reportage Illustrator. Tim is an award-winning illustrator whose drawing projects have been featured widely in the media including in The Metro, The Guardian and Timeout. He discussed in depth his time observing the hospital community, his reasoning behind his consequent drawings, and that he often enjoys drawing on an object to tell its story.
  • Olivier Kugler, an Editorial Illustrator and Visual Journalist. He has travelled to Iran, Laos, Iraqi Kurdistan, Cairo, Ghana and many other places on assignment for a variety of publications. Olivier discussed how he enjoyed meeting different people within the hospital community and found it could be a calm and focusses environment for him to capture their stories within his drawings.
  • Patrick Tresset, an artist who in his work, explores human traits and the aspects of human experience. He discussed how drawing can be a really rewarding activity and is best known for his performative installations using robotic agents as stylized actors and for his exploration of the drawing practice using computational systems and robots.

During the webinar, questions were asked such as ‘What was the biggest challenge/s of working in a clinical/medical environment?’ and ‘I think it’s brilliant that artists at CW+ wear hospital uniforms – how did that come about?’

Trystan Hawkins, Patient Environment Director at CW+, said: “It was really incredible to hear from such a fantastic variety of speakers that have first-hand experience in the use of drawing to improve patient experience and recovery. We are really thankful to all of them for providing such fascinating insights and highlighting once again, the importance and impact of art on staff, patients and families that visit our hospitals.”

Watch the full webinar here.