CurARTive

'CurARTive' sees 'pop-up' artist's studios appear in the public spaces of hospitals with the production of the artworks taking place as the patients wait for appointments and treatment. Painting becomes performance. The artist seeks to provide well-being benefits to both patients and staff: lowering stress levels, combating boredom and offering unexpected learning opportunities proven to promote good mental health.

The act of creating the painting draws the viewer to the work space, which may be located in a calm corner of a clinic's waiting room or amidst the bustling main entrance atrium of the hospital. The viewer is warmly welcomed. Conversation is the key. The shared public space offers opportunities to discuss art practice, arts for health, encourage engagement with culture and cultural activities, along with examining the themes of the project and the narratives within the work in progress. The presence of the artist alters a clinical environment that might otherwise be unattractive, mundane or stress-inducing.

The paintings' themes reveal the fascinating secret histories of modern medicines and their hidden organic origins. Within the painted image, Burscough brings individual patients together with the natural materials from which their particular treatments have been derived, developed or synthesized. Portraits of the patients are placed in environments that speak of the origins of their treatment. Atomic structures of pharmaceutical compounds are hidden in the paintings, secret coded messages, whispered to passing chemists and clinicians. Some paintings tell stories of the heroic discovery of medications, often obscured by the trade-marked nomenclature created by the immense pharmaceutical industry, whose less than transparent, sometimes problematic practices can be seen to distract from the triumph of scientific discovery. In revealing these stories, the artist hopes to leave the patient feeling more warmly towards their treatment, as links to the natural world are established and perhaps, in gaining this understanding, the patients' anxiety centred around 'putting chemicals in my body' may be reduced.



The seven month long CurARTive Exhibition at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital launched as part of Manchester Science Festival 2015 and a programme of engagement activities including an evening launch event at Manchester Museum, themed public hands-on workshops, artist talks, clinical presentations and formal educational outreach was delivered. Participants ranged from primary school groups to older hospital patients, with dissemination taking place in various ways including to professional seminars and to groups of medical students.

The CurARTive project was funded by Arts Council England and took place in 2015 at Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, with collaborative support from Lime Arts, Manchester Museum and The Whitworth.

The seven month long CurARTive Exhibition at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital launched as part of Manchester Science Festival 2015 and a programme of engagement activities including an evening launch event at Manchester Museum, themed public hands-on workshops, artist talks, clinical presentations and formal educational outreach was delivered. Participants ranged from primary school groups to older hospital patients, with dissemination taking place in various ways including to professional seminars and to groups of medical students.

The CurARTive project was funded by Arts Council England and took place in 2015 at Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, with collaborative support from Lime Arts, Manchester Museum and The Whitworth.

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