Monday 26 November 2012

SGS Explorers - Hydrotherapy Arts Project

Earlier this year Gifted and Talented Sale Grammar School students in Year 9 and 10 were commissioned by Lime, one of our Trust partners, to produce art work for the Hydrotherapy Arts Project at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.  The Therapy and Dietetic Department was in the process of being refurbished by Lime artists. The overall theme was based around the idea of journeys and sea voyages to reflect both the funding from Thomas Cook children’s charity and the hydrotherapy area within the unit.

The Secret Treasure Map that the explorers are next to is by Dawn Prescott and located in the Waiting Room of the Main Reception Area

Lime took inspiration from Thomas Cook’s round the world tours and aimed ‘to create a sense of journey of discovery and wonder for everyone who visits and works in the Therapy and Dietetic Department’. The theme runs throughout the unit and art work was especially created for corridors and changing areas to treatment rooms and the pool.

Our students were given the brief of creating art work for the waiting room and treatment areas. The work had to be suitable for the patient age group (1-16) and fit into a small box frame. I decided to tackle the brief by showing students the work of folk artists such as Julie Arkell, and challenging them to make an ‘explorer’ each. The students worked on the projects on several Saturdays from January to March, starting off with a wire and papier mache base and ending with stitched or knitted costumes. Each explorer was mounted on top of a map inside the box frames. The students also produced an account of the journey that their individual explorer was taking. The resulting accounts are humorous and imaginative.

The students’ work is absolutely outstanding and sits very comfortably with the commissioned pieces by artists Helen Kitchen, Brian Chapman, Rob Vale and Dawn Prescott. The project has afforded students the unique opportunity of a live commission and has made a significant contribution to our local community. It is now a bright, fun and interactive environment for all users of the unit– from patients to staff. You can see an overview of the transformation of the unit by clicking here.

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