Hospital Impressions, ‘Where It Heals’ Public Engagement Workshop

‘Hospital Impressions’ is a participatory art project which comments on the transition of a hospital community from an existing hospital building to a new one, through engagement which explores notions of time, memory and place.


Hospital Impressions; Where it Heals, Public engagement event. Film by Elena Georgieva


Staff, visitors, patients and relatives created unique hand impression artefacts by squeezing a ball of raw porcelain during a series of workshops across four Edinburgh Hospital sites. The ‘squeeze’ which might last a few seconds or minutes ‘tapped into the emotions that are captured in a moment of reflection linked to the intimate space of a hand hold’, said lead artist in residence Hans K Clausen.

Having collected, fired and collated over 700 ‘impression artefacts’, Hans and collaborating artist Kjersti Sletteland saught to find a way of reflecting on their process thus far, to critically analyse the purpose and potential of the project and to share it as a work in progress. In November 2017 they hosted a research day at the City Art Centre focussing on two distinct research approaches.

In the morning members of the public were invited to take part in a series of drawing workshops where they were asked to observe and draw the artefacts engaging with the pieces in new, visual and tactile processes. In the afternoon a panel of professionals and academics from a breadth of disciplines were invited to a round table discussion to respond to the artefacts and the ideas behind the project from their professional perspectives.

The panel included; a psychotherapist, an archaeologist, an art therapist, an anaesthetist, a physiotherapist, a hospital chaplain, a museum archivist, a ceramic artist, a senior nurse, a poet and a material culture PhD student. It was chaired by Jonathan Wyatt, director of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry.