Image shown: WHAT artist in residence 2019 Catherine Sweeney Brown

Catherine Sweeney Brown has been selected as the Artist in Residence for 2019 at Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) / University Hospital Waterford (UHW). A musician and music therapist, Catherine will be based at the WHAT Centre for Arts and Health at UHW for six months and will work primarily with the Neonatal and Special Care Baby Unit at the hospital. The Artist in Residence scheme is funded by the Arts Council.  

Catherine grew up in Waterford as part of a musical family. Having completed a music degree at Bangor University, she undertook her Masters in Music Therapy in Cambridge and subsequently spent over 20 years working in the UK as a clinical music therapist, based in children’s hospices, schools, secure care facilities, head injury units and nursing homes. Catherine has a particular interest in early intervention and family therapy, and is a co-founder of Supportive Integrated Therapies, based in Waterford. A flautist, pianist, singer and conductor, Catherine performs regularly with a variety of local groups.

The focus of the WHAT Artist in Residence programme is the artist’s engagement with patients at UHW in participatory and/or collaborative arts experiences. For her residency, Catherine is focusing on developing a positive soundscape for the very young patients in the Neonatal and Special Care Baby Unit: ‘Many of the sounds that patients are exposed to within a hospital setting such as alarms, telephones, etc can be intrusive. To reduce potential stress, and also to promote bonding, I am aiming to develop a more positive and healing sound-world through live musical interaction with the babies and their parents, and by recording a library of music that can be accessed by families and staff both on the wards and after discharge. I hope that this project will have a lasting impact for these patients, their families and the wonderful staff who care for them.’

Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is Ireland’s leading arts and health organisation. Established in 1993, WHAT brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and other healthcare settings. WHAT believes that the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity.


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