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Delivering an art project in an acute setting for people with dementia and other age-related conditions can bring unique rewards and challenges. This podcast explores the Open Gallery art viewing programme at University Hospital Waterford from the viewpoint of the healthcare staff, artists and participants involved.

When you asked us to look: The world of Open Gallery

Open Gallery was established in 2018 by Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), an arts organisation based at University Hospital Waterford (UHW). The project invites people living with dementia primarily, but not exclusively, and their family members / carers, to look at, discuss and enjoy paintings from the hospital’s art collection in a safe and welcoming space. There are two strands to Open Gallery: the first, which is the focal point of this podcast, is for patients at UHW; the second strand is for people living with dementia in the community and takes place at the WHAT Centre for Arts & Health on the hospital campus.

Maeve Butler, Assistant Arts Director at WHAT, talks to those involved about the genesis of the programme and its evolution to better meet patient needs, how it is delivered by the artists and supported by hospital staff, the holistic ethos driving this approach, the response from participants, and the unexpected moments and discoveries when ‘we’re talking together, information flowing both ways.’

This podcast features contributions from:
Dr John Cooke, Consultant Physician (Medicine for the Elderly), UHW
Annette Croke and Sinead O’Sullivan, Clinical Nurse Managers, UHW
Caroline Schofield and Jill Bouchier, Open Gallery artists
Alice, June and Liz, Open Gallery participants


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Image shown: Open Gallery at University Hospital Waterford: L-R: Artist Caroline Schofield, CNM Annette Croke, artist Jill Bouchier.

There was a banter created even two, three days later and that’s the bit that I love, they have something in common to talk about. - Sinead O’Sullivan, CNM


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