Image shown: Radiophone at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

Radiophone is an interactive installation where visitors are invited to pick up an old-style telephone… dial a number, and listen to tracks created and recorded by older people in residential care settings working with singer-songwriter Liz Clark and musician and composer Justin Grounds, as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork. Radiophone was installed as part of the Bealtaine Exhibition 2017 in Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre and will tour West Cork Community Hospitals in the autumn. 

This collaborative project was realised in May 2017 by Toma McCullim, Justine Foster, Marie Laure Haas, Liz Clark, Justin Grounds and technician Moritz Mueller. The tour of West Cork Community Hospitals will include 10 new tracks.

Turn the dial clockwise to go to the next tune
The track list includes Unfurling and Gramophone by the Starlings’ Song Band; Tojo’s Lullaby by participants from Clonakilty Day Care Centre with Justin Grounds and Songs of Springtime Flowers with Justin Grounds and participants from Sonas ward in Clonakilty hospital.

Tojo’s Lullaby
‘Some of the ladies were telling me about the American plane that had come down near Inchydoney during the War, and that they had been there to see the events unfold. As we had been singing lullabies, we thought it would be fun to write a song about this event, taken from the viewpoint of ‘Tojo’, the pet monkey that the airmen had on board.

Each week we were exploring different kinds of music and song, from lullabies, to love songs, soundscapes, dances, and sad songs mourning lost friends. As we did this, we wrote a new verse to our song, exploring these themes. The piece borrows the melody from Mozart’s A Major Piano Sonata, as Ted, one of the group, was an accomplished pianist.’

Project artist and composer Justin Grounds

Song of the Springtime Flowers
Each week that I visited them (the group in Sonas ward), there were different flowers emerging in the fields and gardens around the town. We spent much time talking of flowers and the kind of feelings and experiences that come with springtime. (In much of my recent work with Arts for Health, we have been exploring seasons, as it is a great connecting point, grounding us in time and the rhythms of the year).

I have a set of musical chimes which I bring, all of different colours, and so each person took one and related its colour to a flower – thus making us into a musical field of flowers! The opening line came from Joan O’Leary, who told us every spring she felt like “the world is waking up”. Of course, the fuchsia flower, symbol of West Cork takes pride of place in the chorus!’

– Project artist and composer Justin Grounds

Arts for Health is a partnership programme based in West Cork implementing a managed arts programme for older people in healthcare settings. The partners are West Cork Arts Centre, Cork County Council, Cork Education & Training Board and the HSE. The HSE is represented through the Cork Arts + Health Programme, the Health Promotion Department, the Nursing Directors of Community Hospitals and the Day Care Centres, West Cork.


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