Friday, 22 October 2010

PATIENCE (press release)

Snapshots from hospital beds

A book of art and poetry by older people in hospital designed to help people cope with the emotional journey through illness has been published by arts organisation arthur+martha.

PATIENCE is a no-blows-barred account of life in hospital. The poems and artworks are by people who are sometimes in the process of recovery, sometimes coming to terms with dying. There’s also a good dose of humour. Threading between are interviews with nurses, doctors and carers from Stockport hospitals in North West England.

Poet Philip Davenport explained: “PATIENCE is an experiment to see how poetry and art can complement the journey through hospital and recovery. We have left copies of the book on the wards for people to read. It is a document of the extraordinary determination, humour and kindness we encountered in hospital amongst patients and staff.”

"It brings a new outlook from my point of view, reading this book. It makes you think of something else in life, apart from yourself. You cheer one another up." (Madeleine, Patient)

"This book, it gives other people something of what you feel like." (Marjorie, Patient)

PATIENCE was compiled from workshops and interviews with people in healthcare in the North West of England by arts organisation arthur+martha in a Lottery-funded project. The book is lavishly colour illustrated throughout with photographs (many are snapshots taken by patients of the view from their hospital bed) visual poems and found objects. There are forewords by poet Carol Watts and psychiatrist Francis Creed; renowned American poet Robert Grenier wrote the ‘afterwards’.

Artist Lois Blackburn from arthur+martha said: “PATIENCE gives both an emotional and a medical picture of the journey through illness - from denial to acceptance. Dementia and Parkinson’s, depression, diabetes... We have met the experts in treating these illnesses and the sufferers, who in their own way are also experts. It has been a privilege to encounter these inspirational people.”

PATIENCE 129pp hardback, full colour ISBN 978-0-9539367-8-6 retails at £24.99 and is currently available from Amazon at:


arthur+martha feature in The Guardian:

Holocaust-related project devised by arthur+martha on BBC website:

Thursday, 7 October 2010

a must to read

We've just received this wonderful review of our new book Patience, from Nicole Alkemade, the Older People's Joint Commissioning Manager, NHS Stockport:


Patience is a book which captures patients’ experiences and stories of staff on the wards in a very creative way. It shows how every patient is different and how everybody has a different view on their stay in hospital and their life in general.

The artists did an amazing job in engaging with people in a variety of ways meeting people’s interests and abilities e.g. by putting prescription messages for happiness on pharmaceutical packages, writing poems, making pictures of people’s views on their hospital stay and by designing personal postcards.

All pages in the book contain touching messages, give great insights and are often humorous too. It is an impressive piece of collaborative art describing something so common as a stay in hospital, which could also be sometimes frightening and frustrating, from a human perspective.

Patience is an excellent book to look through, to read, to talk about and to reflect upon. It is a must to read for everybody wanting to deliver personalised and dignified care.

A big thank you to all people who contributed and shared their experiences and wisdom and to Lois and Phillip for capturing these valuable messages!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Dementia arts project

I'm working on a proposal for an arts project with people diagnosed with Dementia, Spaghetti Maze. The proposal keeps growing and changing as we talk to more specialists in the field, which is fantastic- however it sometimes feels like the research and development of this project is never ending! I'm finding many wonderful resources along my way, including these:

Dignity in Care Network: which aims to put dignity at the heart of care services..
and The Life Story Network an independent network of people with a passion for life story work, to create further discussion and sharing of positive practice in the use of life stories...