Participatory Arts

PARTICIPATORY ARTS

We enhance the hospital experience for all our patients by working with musicians, dancers, gardeners and artists to provide participatory arts, crafts, music and sensory sessions.

Our participatory arts programme is based on long-term artistic residencies. All artists are commissioned in collaboration with staff and patients at all stages and delivered in a range of settings including patients’ bedsides, ward dayrooms and outpatient clinics.

We work with The Wallace Collection and The Museum of Brands to provide interactive making, handling or reminiscence sessions, based on objects from their collections. In these sessions, we bring the museum experience to our patients in hospital, offering them the chance to get close to history.

South Asian dance company Akademi gets patients moving with traditional performances on the wards, while The Rhythm Studio Foundation brings toe-tapping percussion workshops in which young patients and their families are invited to make music using drums, bells and other instruments.

Harpist Mark Levin regularly performs for patients of all ages, often encouraging patients to have a go at playing the instrument. Our pianist-in-residence Alastair Collingwood plays patients’ favourite songs on the piano: a trip down memory lane. Vocalist Natasha Lohan encourages patients to get singing themselves to support lung health and mental wellbeing. Research shows music for older patients is an excellent way to improve visual awareness, focus attention, improve auditory and verbal memory and improve mood.

Popular with patients of all ages, TheraPaws and Pets as Therapy dogs are regular visitors to our wards, providing companionship, interaction and promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.

Dramatherapist Grace Linstead runs sensory sessions and mindful workshops with our young patients, inspiring self-reflection and confidence. Artist Charlotte Cranidge leads creative activities with our older patients, using drawing, collage or painting to practice dexterity and providing opportunity for one-on-one interaction and conversation.

To care for our older patients, especially those living with dementia, we offer participatory activities in both visual and performing arts which help maintain and stimulate cognitive function as well as encouraging creativity and imagination. Our regular performers include dancer Cai Tomos, who specialises in the psychological and psychosocial aspects of dance and movement; and Cressida Brotherstone, whose art sessions recall patient experiences and memories, allowing for social interaction and the chance to share stories.

Working in partnership with Hammersmith Community Gardening Association (HCGA), we also deliver therapeutic gardening workshops in the hospital. These workshops are designed to use the natural environment to help with physical, social, emotional, and psychological needs of patients.

Andrew Hall, musician and Music and Sound Research Consultant at CW+, runs regular bedside listening sessions and percussion workshops, and collaborates with the Royal Academy of Music; postgraduate students can join us and gain experience of working with patients.