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P-12 Art and hospice care- building a strategic relationship
  1. Erna Haraldsdottir1,
  2. Leslie Christie1 and
  3. Jane McArthur2
  1. 1St Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh, Lothian, UK
  2. 2Ginko Project, UK


Background A Hospice in Scotland has demonstrated a commitment to integrate creative and decorative art into its day to day practice. In order to achieve this a five year Art Strategy was developed in collaboration with an artist with over fifteen year experience in the field of therapeutic art and design in a wide range of healthcare contexts. The development of the art strategy was funded by Creative Scotland.

The process of writing the strategy

  • Five months consultation period with the hospice staff, volunteers and patients, artists, cultural organisation and potential funders.

  • A number of workshops and consultation approaches entitled ‘we need to talk’ were employed to understand patients’, staffs’, volunteers’ and visitors’ needs and aspirations.

  • Other key activates were:

    • A Drop in Day for staff and volunteers.

    • A Seminar Day with staff, volunteers, local professional artists and representatives from cultural organisations.

    • Art workshops with patients.

Implementation of the art strategy The strategy proposes a programme of activities that will offer appropriate therapeutic engagement for patients, families and staff. A social programme is designed to bring in the wider community into the hospice building and grounds to reduce stigma and to ensure that the hospice becomes an accessible, lively and interesting part of the local community.

Eleven proposed projects have been identified within the themes of:

  • Sensitive spaces, exhibition spaces, partnership residence projects, the social programme, staff project, research project and emergent artist mentoring scheme.

What we will achieve with the strategy

  • Permanent public art elements for sensitive spaces enhancing a therapeutic environment

  • Space within the hospice exhibiting patients’ and artists’ work

  • Event programme attracting the public into the hospice.

  • Therapeutic art as part of hospice activates for staff, patients and families.

  • Long term partnership with arts organisations and link with the local professional creative community.

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