Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS trust, Willis Newson, Photoworks and the University of Brighton are working in partnership to deliver this major photographic project, which will create work for 37 new waiting rooms in the redeveloped hospital. The partners envisage these commissions resulting in photographic projects that go beyond a direct documentary response, conveying instead an experience and understanding of the spirit of place, gained through research of relevant localities and by developing relationships with local communities/groups
The commissioning partners sought proposals for the creation of stimulating images for the enjoyment of staff, patients and visitors using the waiting areas for many years to come – work which will become a source of contemplation and pleasure during potential times of stress, distress or discomfort. Clinical research shows enhancing the hospital environment has a positive effect on reducing patient and visitor anxiety, helping the recovery process and reducing the need for pain relief medication.
In a joint statement the partnership organisations say:
“These commissions will play an important role within this world-class health facility. They will help provide a positive environment that will complement the exceptional medical care patients can expect. The commissions will help to maximise patient recovery and significantly improve the waiting experience for patients, staff, visitors and carers for many years to come. They offer an exciting opportunity for photographers to connect not only with the large numbers of people within the hospital, but also with diverse communities across Sussex. This is an investment that will genuinely improve the care environment for everyone and help foster a sense of pride in the hospital.”
The four themes chosen for the photography programme underline a sense of place connecting patients and the local environment. Murray Ballard, Zoe Childerley and Celine Marchbank have each been selected from a nationwide open call. They will create work themed on South Downs, Coast and Brighton, joining internationally recognised photographer, Helen Sear, appointed to produce Sussex themed commissioned work. All works will be created with local community engagement over the next 18 months.
Murray Ballard’s work on the South Downs will be informed by historic folklore and explore how the landscape and its mythology are entwined.
Zoe Childerley will dive, float, paddle, sail and walk with local communities, anchoring seascape imagery in concepts of ‘beneath the waves’, ‘on the surface’ and ‘at the edge’.
Celine Marchbank has proposed a series evoking the sense of place, familiarity, well-being and comfort that home brings. She intends to work with Brighton residents whose personal stories and direct experiences of illness and hospitals will be central to the work.
Helen Sear’s commission will include research into forgotten Sussex footpaths and road ways with an exploration of the passage of time, people and animals across the county.