ArtRoom @ Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital (RACH)

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ArtRoom@RACH August 2015

Grampian Hospitals Art Trust

ArtRoom@RACH Sally Thomson GHAT Director ArtRoom is an exciting arts project funded by The ARCHIE Foundation, which works directly with patients and families. This project enhances wellbeing by providing specially designed arts sessions for participants to engage with a range of art forms, offering inspiring challenges and enabling creative development and self-expression. In a hospital setting a patient and their carer can become isolated from reality and feel out of control. A patient centred arts session gives back choice; it helps with self confidence, self determination and patient empowerment through creative expression. This project has a therapeutic and rehabilitative benefit for people; it builds independence and restores self-confidence in a way that complements their medical treatment.

‘I really liked the art materials. Used watercolour for most of the day, it kept me feeling happy’ Leonie, age 13

‘I think this project is such a good idea. My son usually finds art very soothing and it’s good at distracting him from what is going on at the time. Very beneficial and fun.’

‘Artroom is a wonderful thing to have in the hospital, it is very therapeutic, absorbs the children in and lets them forget for a while what they are doing in hospital, lets them be creative. I think it’s very relaxing.’

‘Thank you so much for helping me to feel more relaxed about my daughter’s visit to hospital today. I loved having an opportunity to create my own masterpiece. Lucy’s favourite activity is drawing and painting - so this surprise activity was wonderful for helping her to be less nervous about her visit today. It would be a dreadful shame if this opportunity was not available for future patients.’

Elizabeth, age 53 1/ 2

Heather Beattie RACH Play Coordinator ArtRoom takes place in the main activity area on the ward on the 2nd floor of the hospital. Each week two artists come in armed with enthusiasm, art materials, books and most importantly expertise in art. ArtRoom has many aims but one of the main ones is for children and young people to leave illness behind and become immersed in using proper art materials. For two hours on a Thursday & Friday, the child, young person or carer is in control, they decide what they want the session to be, they decide what they want to use and they decide what they want to get from ArtRoom. ArtRoom and the specially selected team bring a really positive experience into the ward. To have the tables in the Activity Area surrounded by children and young people of all ages and abilities ensures that we have an inclusive approach, making art achievable to everyone as there are no rules, templates and pre packed art kits. We are very fortunate to have many organised activities for families in the hospital but ArtRoom is unique as it really allows our families the opportunity to express themselves fully, be creative and work together. It also gives the families opportunities to experience with new medium and explore art in a way they may never have done before. The end results that families have are then proudly discussed and displayed. In fact we are really keen to develop an area in the ward to display some of these as this really helps to build self esteem, aid communication or in some cases create some memories.

Susan Gauld RACH ArtRoom Artist Every ArtRoom session at RACH is different but it is always filled with laughter, fun and mess. One memory that stands out was when our frames arrived and we framed a painting painted by a young girl who had been attending our sessions for a few months. Her sheer delight and amazement at how great it looked will stay with me for a long time. Anna Shirron RACH ArtRoom Artist There was a patient who attended for months whose parents and/or sibling used to join us most sessions, and it wasn’t until after they’d left us that I realised they were essentially creating a legacy over the past months every time the family made work together at the ArtRoom sessions. Katie Ward RACH ArtRoom Artist One of the patients who we had been working with over a period of weeks held a genuine excitement for making art and really looked forward to our sessions. Her imagery never failed to inspire me, and was truly unique. She would challenge herself with our materials to create a range of beautiful artworks with these imaginative narratives. One of my favourites, that still makes me smile, was that of a stylised agricultural scene including a tractor, a fence, a cow sunbathing on a blanket and a farmer taking a giant carrot on a walk, lead and all.

Grampian Hospitals Art Trust Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZN

01224 552429 Registered Charity SCO16910