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Title: Healing through curatorial dialogue
Author: Yee, Poyan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 4921
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2011
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Healing Through Curatorial Dialogue reports on a project developed within a collaboration between the Department of Arts at Northumbria University and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. As an artist-photographer who took on the project as a practice-led doctoral investigation, my ambition has been to advance the role of the artist-curator for hospital users at Hexham General Hospital (HGH) in Northumberland, the host venue for my research. As a result, my thesis discusses not only what the exhibiting of artworks in hospitals adds to healthcare concepts such as healing and wellbeing (Kaye & Blee, 1997; Haldane & Loppert, 1999; Kirklin & Richardson, 2003; Staricoff & Loppert, 2003; Staricoff, 2004) but also how the socially engaged curatorial practices of artists, an area of fine art research that addresses experimental exhibition production and audience development (Gablik, 1997; Hannula, 1998; Putnam, 2001; Jacob, 2003; Kesler, 2004), stimulates and facilitates dialogue between patients, hospital staff and local artists, an interaction that I explore throughout my thesis in relation to an apparently irreconcilable 'art world' at the University and 'medical world' at HGH - two socio-cultural domains that my project was set up to harmonize. In order to maximize the intersection between these two worlds my research has sought to make connections between people and artworks as well as between creators and viewers of exhibitions. This has happened at multiple levels. The exhibiting of artworks by local artists in a local hospital involves many formal and informal conversations; many intentional and spontaneous engagements with art objects; and countless multi-sensory interactions with the busy spaces in which the exhibitions have been installed. In order to transform these interactions into a research method I have explored three concepts: 1) 'healing' as a process of ii 'making whole' (Jackson, 2004; Egnew, 2005); 2) 'curatorial' as an adjectival term associated with the non-authoritative intermediary practices of artist- curators (O'Neill, 2007a); and 3) 'dialogue' as a transformative group activity that promotes a 'unity of an aspect' in divisive situations such as those I encountered between artists and members of staff at HGH (Gadamer, 1979,1996; Bohm, 2004; Freire, 2004). As with many practice-led doctoral projects in the arts, my investigation has involved a range of introspective and interpersonal frames. In my case this has been especially true of the impact of my Buddhist background on my dealings with the UK healthcare system. Here I have utilized the action research cycle described by authors such as Kemmis and McTaggart (1998) and modified the process to incorporate, not only the successive stages of my personal growth as a creative and empathetic practitioner, but also the crucial influence of healthcare staff, patients and local artists within the expansion of my ideas during my research journey. The most important consequence of my action research was the development of workshops using table-top handling exercises that helped the HGH 'medical world' appreciate artworks, not as fixed exhibits on the wall, but as objects loaned by artists that could be passed around and considered from different points of view. Therefore, my thesis demonstrates how an artist- photographer can utilize and adapt curatorial practices for NHS environments and then evaluate the creative connections that the exhibiting process has generated for art communities and hospital users in the catchment area of HGH. Most importantly, Healing Through Curatorial Dialogue considers the potential for harmonious action by artists and healthcare professionals and speculates on future 'art and healthcare' projects in which the intersection between local artists and hospital staff have overlapped to such a degree that the intermediary role of a curator is no longer necessary.
Supervisor: Dorsett, Christopher Sponsor: Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine ; W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design