New artworks brighten Woodlands Unit stairwell

Picture of unveiling

Three groups of service users, carers and staff have created new artworks that they hope will inspire and bring hope to visitors to the Woodlands Unit in Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup.

Sophie Dodds presents commemorative scroll

The Storyweaving project was the brainchild of Head Occupational Therapist Pauline Cooper, who was inspired by an artwork themed around memories from the Paintings in Hospitals scheme – where works of art are loaned to hospitals to improve the patient environment.

Pauline said: “Three different groups from the Woodlands Unit met on three separate occasions. First, each group viewed and discussed the Pictures in Hospitals artwork ‘Memory 1’ by Anna Sherwin. This is a composition of eight photographic prints of a variety of memories. The group then wrote about their thoughts and perspectives on the picture within the context of placement in the hospital.

“Next, they considered the entrance stairs from reception to the wards, recalling memories of entering the hospital and using the stairs; regarding in particular the area of wall halfway up the stairwell – and were invited to reflect on the idea of artwork that would promote feelings of hope and encouragement.

“They were then provided with the same 50 plus random photographs from which they chose eight pictures to create a new artwork for this space. After choosing, they were asked to write a narrative describing their reason for choosing the set of photographs, and a title for the artwork, which are displayed beside the final framed piece.”

Beryl Bellinger, a carer who was involved with the project, said: “When selecting the photographs I was thinking in terms of hope. Visitors can sometimes feel depressed, bewildered and frightened and I want these pictures to inspire, lift the spirits and give people hope.”

The works were officially unveiled on 6 August by Sophie Dodds, Curator for London and Southern Region, Paintings in Hospitals. Sophie said:
“Memory 1 was the result of a collaboration between the artist and the community where she was working. I’m delighted to see that it has inspired this group effort that has meant so much to its creators and that will be enjoyed by visitors for years to come.”

The three framed pictures are now on permanent display on the main stairwell at the Woodlands Unit.

Photo captions

1) Sophie Dodds unveils the new artwork

2) Sophie presents commemorative scroll to a participant of the Storyweaving project.

Published on 10th August 2010