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Exeter Healthcare Arts - Live arts

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Photo of the live artsLive arts performances and practical workshops in which staff, patients and visitors can participate are an important part of the work of Exeter Health Care Arts. The involvement of the local communities, artists, schools and educational institutions are essential to the success of these initiatives.


Partnerships have been formed with city-based arts organisations to facilitate and enable youth groups to ‘reach in’ to the hospital and to contribute to schemes, which are intended to put younger patients at ease, relieve fear and distract them from the clinical environment surrounding them.


Professional artists are engaged to work with children in the schoolroom and at the bedside. The aim is to offer the highest quality art experience, enabling the young people to feel special and valued.  This reinforces the notion of the individual person rather then simply another patient.  In this way, the arts reaffirm the ethos of the service that the hospital provides.

Photo of live music 

The range of visual arts media that EHCA has offered so far has included silk painting, puppet workshops, animation, ceramics, calligraphy and drawing.  In the future it is intended to broaden this list to include painting and digital art.


An important aspect of the workshop initiative is to bring new skills and ideas to the Hospital School and to add interest to the working day of the busy clinical staff, see photo right.


The evidence of the success of this work is in the contribution many of the completed artworks make to the hospital environment.  While anecdotal evidence abounds, each smile from a child demonstrates that the theory and its practice works.


EHCA logoIt has been clinically proven that music has a profound effect on our sense of wellbeing and that certain musical structures can actually trigger chemical changes in the body that give us that ‘feel good’ factor.  EHCA has made efforts to pilot projects to bring music into the healing environment.  This follows an occasional programme of performances in public areas of the hospital.  Workshops with highly-trained players more used to the concert circuit then the hospital ward have not only entertained, but have made positive contributions to the wellbeing of patients.


So far, this work has concentrated on the area of Child Health.  As resources are found, the work will be developed with adult in-patients and may also extend to providing services for outpatients.