Visual artist Sarah Ruttle has produced a document following a project of exploration looking at issues that arise in confidentiality, decision making and consent within an arts and health context. The investigation is undertaken from the perspective of an artists’ participatory art practice and its findings have been developed with the support of professional artists working within participatory art within arts and health, healthcare professionals and Arts and Health Co-ordinators.

This field is diverse in its settings, contexts and methodologies. Through the course of this research, artists and healthcare professionals identified areas for discussion such as: an artist’s responsibility; who has the final say in consent; disclosure of identity and what is art. This documentation presents separate perspectives of those consulted in this investigation while focusing on three areas within health: Mental Health; Alzheimer’s and Oncology. Areas of crossover within the perspectives are seen in this research: dignity of participant; processes of informed consent; clarity of intention and use of guidelines.

This research project highlights an artists’ perspective while raising points to encourage ongoing dialogue, which can benefit arts and health participatory arts practice. The Arts Council through the Arts Participation bursary award supported this project.

Tyrone born visual artist Sarah Ruttle graduated in 2002 with a degree in Textiles from DJCAD, University of Dundee in Scotland. Sarah is based in West Cork working with a number of organisations through her participatory arts practice and is currently a mentoring artist on Arts for Health Partnership Programme.


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