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Associate Artist Gillian Brent delivering workshop

Associate Artist Gillian Brent delivering a workshop

Shell sculptures inspired by work in the Aquatopia exhibition

Shell sculptures inspired by artwork in the Aquatopia exhibition

Exhibition of work in the day room on Ward B47

Exhibition of artwork in the day room on Ward B47

Artwork made by the patients and their carers

Artwork made by the patients and their carers

Object handling to inspire reminiscience

Object handling to inspire reminiscience


The Imaginary of the Ocean Deep

Artist led workshops for dementia patients at Queen's Medical Centre

An action research partnership between Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.

In October 2013, three Associate Artists from Nottingham Contemporary worked with patients with dementia, staff and carers in the day room of Ward B47 at Queens Medical Centre for ten consecutive days.

Informed by the research undertaken during our previous dementia project Viewing Together, the artists delivered a bespoke series of workshops aimed at improving patient experience at the hospital, reaffirming the participants’ sense of identity and providing an opportunity for carers and hospital staff to engage in new experiences together.

Each workshop focused on a different work of art from Nottingham Contemporary’s summer 2013 exhibition Aquatopia. Related nautical objects were passed around the group and poetry or text was read aloud to inspire discussion and reminiscence. Each day a different artistic technique was demonstrated by the artists before participants had the opportunity to create their own work.

For the duration of the ten days the room where the workshops took place was transformed into a sea-themed studio, creating continuity and a stimulating environment for the patients to work in. The artwork created by the patients was also exhibited in the day room for visitors, patients and hospital staff to enjoy after the workshops ended.

The workshops helped reawaken skills, give pleasure from achievement, provoke memories and reaffirm personality and character.

Artists from New Art Exchange have made a short documentary film about the project which includes reflections by the artists, hospital staff and patients. The film will soon be available to view online.

A detailed report of this project is available to download from the bottom of this page.