A Clinically Useful Artwork? Between a Dialogical and a Relational Approach to Art in a Clinical Environment

By Denis Roche, Philip Napier, Brian Maguire and Shaun McCann.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper discusses the process of introducing, developing and sustaining an art intervention into a clinical environment (hospital community), and integrating it with a clinical trial being conducted to evaluate its effect on patients. Three key issues needed to be addressed in this process. The first of these was how to implement an artwork in the clinical environment that was accountable in terms that were familiar to the art world and the medical community. The second was how to implement an artwork, which allowed the patient to be the arbiter of their own aesthetic experience and to keep them at the center of the experience in general. The third issue centered on the creation of an artwork that may have a clinically significant impact on the patient. With this in mind, the artist /curator developed a framework that facilitated the introduction of an art intervention into a clinical setting that addressed all three issues successfully. This framework can be regarded as a model for introducing art into any type of health care community context. It brings together the world of art and health care in a way that is accountable, inclusive and above all patient-centered.
This approach is contextualized by the emerging dialogue between a post-modern art practice, which has its foundations in both relational and dialogical aesthetics, and the modernist praxis of an Irish teaching hospital.

Keywords: A Dialogical and Relational Approach to Art in a Clinical Environment Aesthetic Experience Patient

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.7-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.501MB).

Denis Roche

Artist/Curator, Open Window Project, Research Steering Committee, The Open Window Project, NCAD, Dublin, Ireland

Denis is an artist and composer living and working in Ireland.He has received an Arts Council of Ireland, Artist in Residence Award and was a member of an advisory committee to the Arts Council on Art in Health matters.He was also the project leader in the Portraits of Pain project commissioned by Pfizer, Ireland He has exhibited nationally and has presented internationally,most notably at MoMA,NY at a Symposium on Art and Health,in 2008.He has composed music for Film, Contemporary dance and Theatre. In 2004 he travelled to Beijing,China for the performance of his soundtrack to the Salt Cycle, a collaboration with the National Ballet of China.

Philip Napier

Head of Sculpture(acting), Faculty Fine Art, Sculpture, National College of Art and Design, Ireland, Ireland

Philip Napier has a broad experience of acting as art consultant, public and conference speaker, selection panel member, art college lecturer and artist. Formerly a Rome Scholar, Philip Napier is a Director of Flaxart Studios and is currently the (acting) Head of Sculpture at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

Prof. Brian Maguire

Professor of Fine Art, Faculty of Fine Art, National College of Art and Design, Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Brian Maguire is the Professor of Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design. Dublin. He was one of the joint chairs of the research group on the project. A painter, he has developed a practice which is socially engaged, political, working internationally with people in prison and in mental institutions. He represented Ireland in the Beijing Bienalle 2008. He exhibits with the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin.

Prof. Shaun McCann

Head, Department of Haematology, St.James Hospital & Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Shaun McCann is Professor of Haematology in St James’s Hospital and The University of Dublin, Trinity College. He is a consultant haematologist and head of the department of Haematology. He carried out the first stem cell transplant in Ireland in 1984 when he established the National Centre for Stem Cell Transplantation in St James’s Hospital, Dublin. He carried out post-graduate training at the University of Minnesota and The University of Washington, Seattle. He has a long standing interest in all aspects of art and music. He is an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.

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