This month’s Spotlight is on the Connolly Collective art group at Connolly Hospital, Blandchardstown. Theresa King, Senior Medical Scientist with the Haematology Laboratory in the Pathology Department, and founder of Connolly Collective, discusses how the group is supporting the enhancement of the hospital environment for patients, staff and visitors.
Who we are
Connolly Collective art group was formed in 2015 to create and exhibit work in response to the 60th birthday of Connolly Hospital. Connolly Collective also commemorated in 2016 the hospital’s connection to 1916 (the hospital was named after James Connolly). The work produced was then given on extended loan to the hospital. Connolly Collective is comprised of artists who are staff members, and professional artists with a connection to the hospital.
With the support of the Hospital Manager and Blanchardstown Hospital Society, an area was given over in the Administration Building as a gallery space where several well-attended exhibitions have been held.
The group is committed to supporting the Blanchardstown Hospital Society, the charity attached to the hospital, and 20% of all work sold is donated to the Society.
Slí na Slainte
This initiative came about when Professor of Surgery Tom Walsh and Theresa King, the founder of Connolly Collective, were discussing patients needs post-surgery. A particular need was to encourage patients to gain mobility as soon as possible post-surgery.
Our Slí na Slainte Under the Roof is part of an Art in Health project which aims to improve the hospital experience for patients, staff and visitors. Initially it will be done by displaying art throughout the hospital in the hope that those patients who can be mobile will move through the wide corridors and enjoy the work, while staff and visitors will find it relaxing and hopefully inspiring. The launch of Slí na Slainte was made possible by a generous donation by Professor Walsh. Secure hanging rails have been placed on the corridor along Elm and Maple Wards on Level 4. The aim is now to continue with more rails to all levels, including our OPD department separate to the main hospital.
What the arts bring to healthcare settings
We believe that the health and wellbeing of patients and staff are influenced by many factors and the arts is one of them. Studies have shown that participation in creative projects can improve mental health. Likewise being cared for or working in a creative, beautiful environment with art available to view and enjoy can distract and positively engage both patients and staff.
Art projects can also support community building within the hospital and the wider Fingal area and encourage more integration of the hospital into the community. Connolly Hospital is very fortunate to have Fingal County Council Arts Office and Draoicht Arts Centre within walking distance; their advice and enthusiasm has been invaluable.
Connolly Hospital is hosting the 2018 Introduction to Arts and Health, a one-day national workshop on 9 November organised by artsandhealth.ie (managed by Waterford Healing Arts Trust). For further details see