Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Art of Caring opens at St George's Hospital

Yesterday we opened the Art of Caring 2017 exhibition at St George's Hospital. We had an immediate and favourable response from patients and staff at the hospital as they walked past our display of postcards and haiku pill bottles. You can find the exhibition of more than 330 artworks by Cardiac Investigations, Ground Floor, Atkinson Morley Wing, St George's Hospital, SW17 0QT.

The exhibition is sited on a busy corridor that services several departments and if you sit there for a few minutes then porters swish by, pushing patients in beds and wheelchairs. While we were there several people spoke about the artwork on display. One of our first visitors Jill Partridge said, "I've been prodded and poked today, the staff have been wonderful but I've been to so many appointments and tests, it feels like I'm on a conveyor belt. How nice to have a moment to breathe. I like seeing the art, it helps me remember what is important to me."

The Art of Caring is running alongside the SNAP Conference this year and many Kingston University Nursing students came to have a look at the art and find the haikus that they had written themselves. The haikus have been printed onto pill bottles and made a great display, a big thank you to ICU Nurse Nikki Yun and Dr Karen Norman who helped install the work on the Atkinson Morley Wing walls.

We also had a important visitor, Jane Cummings, who is the Chief Nurse at NHS England. She viewed the whole exhibition and enjoyed the diversity on the work.

Thank you to Dr Julia Gale and all the staff at Kingston University and St George's University, London for supporting the exhibition. Also to the Arts Director Joanna Wakefield and Curator Carla Di Grazia, both at St George's Hospital. Most all thank you to all the artists and authors who contributed to the exhibition, we rely on your support every year and you give us such a wonderful creative response.

There is an additional album of photos HERE (and we'll add to them as the exhibition progresses).

The exhibition closes on the 12th May. International Nurses Day.


Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Art of Caring 2017 at St George's Hospital

With less than a week to go we're all working away here at CollectConnect in preparation for this year's exhibition. The postcards are all printed and need trimming to their correct sizes and the haiku labels need to be stuck on their 2D pill bottles, but all will be ready for the 3rd May 2017 when we launch the Art of Caring exhibition at St George's Hospital in Tooting, London, UK.

This year Paul Newcombe, Associate Professor on the BSc Nursing programme at Kingston University, chose Caroline Kirton's image for the exhibition publicity material. Thank you to Caroline for the fantastic artwork that adorns all our posters and flyers at St George's. These will be placed all around the hospital for the duration of the exhibition which runs from 3rd - 12th May 2017.

There wont be a Private View this year as both the Hospital/NHS and Education budgets are under pressure but Alban will be on site during the 3rd May if you would like to meet him and some of the other artists. The exhibition runs alongside the Student Nurse Academic Partnership (SNAP) at St George's on the 3rd May. If you would like to attend or find out more details then visit

The exhibition will be in the Atkinson Morley Wing (ground floor) and available to view at normal hospital opening hours so please come along and have a look at this year's selection of work on the theme of Care, Caring and Sustainability. The exhibition closes on the 12th May which is International Nurse's Day. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and continues to support our Nurses, Carers and the NHS by sending us their artworks and poems.

The exhibition will next go onto St Pancras Hospital from July to October 2017 with a selection of original work chosen by curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay alongside the postcards. As soon as we know the details we'll post it up here.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau, Freya: Me My hair and I
Submissions for this year's Art of Caring have started to arrive in our inbox and we've been both excited and emotionally piqued by the artworks (and haikus) that people would like to exhibit. If you're reading this and would also like to exhibit then visit our SUBMIT page, you've got until the 3rd April to do so and it's totally Free. So just do it.

When we get a few spare minutes from sifting through the entries it inspires us to reflect on the artworks and the power that they possess. Today I've been particularly caught by a series of photographs by Ella Penn, who has been exhibiting with us since the Rarities magnet exhibition on Hasting's Pier in 2011. Although her work is primarily photography based she has a keen eye for the conceptual. In 2015 she took part in the wonderful Art Language Location festival in Cambridge where she exhibited her work 52 Card Pick Up with Liam Whitfield. Over a 6 year period they collected a full pack of cards after finding them individually discarded in public places.

The Art of Caring has always been close to the heart of Ella as she was a carer for her dad for 10 years. This year she has submitted a powerful triptych dedicated to her friend Freya, who is raising awareness of Alopecia UK.

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau, Freya: Me My hair and I
"The photos are of Freya Barnes who I've known all my life. Both Freya and her sister Roxy have battled with Alopecia as they were growing up and this knocked their self confidence, as a woman hair is seen as one of the key factors in femininity. The NHS gave Freya wigs and referred her to hair loss shampoos. All of which are designed to cover up or try and restore the growth of her hair. 

I suggested this photo project to Freya as photo therapy and hopefully to give her confidence in herself without her wig. When I showed Freya the images after the shoot she was really pleased and decided to share an image on the Alopecia Facebook page to inspire other women."
Ella Penn, 2017

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau, Freya: Me My hair and I
It goes without saying that we were inspired here too, by both Freya and Ella. We thank them both for contributing to the exhibition. If you would like to see these artworks and many more like them then visit us at St George's Hospital on the 3rd-12th May 2017. A selection of AOC work will also be exhibited at St Pancras Hospital from 20th July to 19th October 2017.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Art of Caring 2017 - Submissions open

Now in its 3rd year The Art of Caring is needed more than ever to show support for Nurses, Carers, and the NHS. This is your chance to exhibit an artwork or haiku that demonstrates your passion for this theme, whether you have faced its challenges from the perspective of a carer or patient.

The Art of Caring is split into two clear exhibitions.
The first is at St George's Hospital (3rd-12th May 2017) where printed postcards of your artwork are displayed on the walls of the hospital to help celebrate International Nurses Day. This is an inclusive exhibition.
The second is at St Pancras Hospital (July-October 2017) and uses a mixture of original artworks and printed postcards. Works will be selected by Arts Project curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay.

It is Free to enter.
Send up to 3 jpeg images at an A6 size to
Send a haiku to the same email address

The theme this year is Care, Caring and Sustainability.
It is inspired by the theme for International Nurses Day 2017 which is Nursing: A voice to lead - Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

You'll receive a confirmation email within 7 days with your catalogue/exhibition numbers. Before the exhibition we will print 2 postcards of each of your artworks. One copy will be sent to you and the other will be exhibited at St George's Hospital, Tooting, UK from the 3rd-12th May, 2017.

This year we will be opening the exhibition on 3rd May 2017 alongside SNAP (Student Nurse Academic Partnership Conference) and finishing on International Nurses Day (12th May).
If you would like to see last year's exhibition and some of the 380 submissions then click here. - 2016 Launch Party & exhibition

For the full details about how to submit your work visit our SUBMIT page.
Deadline for submissions is Monday 3rd April 2017
(We may close early if all 400 exhibition spaces are filled)

Alban Low, Bryan Benge, Dean Reddick and Stuart Simler

Friday, 14 October 2016

Closing event 2016

Karin Andrews Jashapara
(Photo: Lesley Cartwright)
Thank you to all who came to the Art of Caring closing event last night. There was an illuminating talk from Karin Andrews Jashapara as well as the screening of two films about AOC by Anna Bowman.

The first reveals the origins of the AOC exhibition as well as the excitement of the Private View at St Pancras Hospital. The second,Falling, documents the performance work of Charlotte CHW.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Review - Art of Caring at St Pancras Hospital

Review by London City Nights (19/09/2016)

You feel a weird combination of reassurance and worry walking through the doors of an NHS clinic. The staff are busy yet friendly, the walls are festooned with upbeat primary coloured posters and there's a pleasantly paternalistic atmosphere. This is a place designed to make you well, doing its level best to send you out the door in better shape than you walked in.

But then you notice the damp on the walls, the peeling paint and furniture that hasn't been replaced in 20 years. The NHS is suffering the death of a thousand cuts: the victim of a government ideologically opposed to a free at the point of use publicly owned health service. Jeremy Hunt assures us that they're merely 'modernising' the NHS when anyone with a glimmer of sense can see that he's setting it up to fail, its carcass fodder for the circling corporate vultures of the American healthcare industry. I mean, if it's not making investors any money, what's the point of it?

So it's wonderful to see an exhibition like The Art of Caring - a collection of work from nurses, patients and artists depicting their ideas on the theme of caring, specifically nursing. The exhibition is collaboration between Kingston University, The Arts Project and Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust, featuring work that ranges from photography, painting, performance and sculpture. Some of it is professional and polished, some is rough and passionate, but all displays a tenderness and empathy that perfectly suits the surroundings.
(Fractured Memories) Doll Therapy by Aran Illingworth

There's a lot to take in here, but I particularly enjoyed the following. (Fractured Memories) Doll Therapy by Aran Illingworth. It's a quietly devastating canvas piece about Alzheimers, capturing a painful morsel of misery in the eyes of someone whose memory is gradually eroding away. The arts n crafts textile look adds to the emotional wallop, not only looking like something a kindly grandmother might make, but the rough shapes and soft fabric underlining the subjects humanity and increasingly blurry edges.
Comfort and Joy - Susie Mendelsson
On a slightly different wavelength is Susie Mendelsson's Comfort and Joy, a bizarre mixed-media sculpture of a creepily wizened homunculus approaching a baby from behind while a tiny man stares on in horror. It's disturbing stuff, the soft manufactured plastic of the doll contrasting with the hand-carved chaos of the monster. That title has got to be a joke, because there's precious little comfort or joy in this. If I had to pick out a meaning, it seems to speak of a mother's trauma at losing a baby, then feeling guilt that the next one survives. Even as she cares for her healthy baby, she cannot help but imagine the forgotten one, balefully staring on in jealousy.
One Day at a Time - Susie Mendelsson
Also by Mendelsson is One Day at a Time, depicting a worried looking person weighed down by faceless little men. This is a little easier to parse, but no less effective. Here the effect of the paranoias, traumas and miseries of the past is literalised, showing them crawling all over an apparently normal person going about their day to day life. It looks suitably nightmarish, the haunted expression of the central figure conveying a palpable desperation.
Charlotte CHW

Sunday's event was capped off by a live performance from Charlotte CHW, who was also exhibiting photographs. Dressed in a suit that perfectly matched the brickwork of the building, she writhed about against the walls and on the floor accompanied by a soundtrack of breaking glass. Watching this it's difficult not to look up at the gently spooky Victorian brickwork and wonder just how long this hospital is going to last. Generations of Londoners have walked through these halls, each with their own individual ailments and stories to tell.

The performance understands this history, treating the building like a psychological sponge that's sucked up a century of trauma and needs to be squeezed dry.  Charlotte's movements are slow, painful and precise - it's like you can see dust crumbling from her joints as she repeatedly collapses and rises, trapped in some infinite loop of pain, healing and more pain. I dug it.

Anyhow, The Art of Caring is well worth checking out, demonstrating not only the public's affection for the NHS and its nurses, but just how critical its long-term support systems are. Whether you've sprained your ankle, suffered trauma in Blair's oil wars or are watching an elderly relative succumb to dementia, the NHS will always be there. But it also needs us to fight for it.

Art is Caring is at The Conference Centre, St Pancras Hospital, 4 St Pancras Way, London NW1 OPE (9am-5pm) until 13 October 2016.

The Exhibition finishes with a Closing Event on the 13th October 2016, 5.30-7.30pm.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

St Pancras Hospital exhibition for Art of Caring

Last week the Art of Caring exhibition returned to the gallery walls for the public to view and enjoy. A large section of the artwork that graced the Rose Theatre gallery in May 2016 moved to its new venue in St Pancras Hospital for an extended run until October 2016.

Karin Andrews Jashapara
The exhibition has a different flavour entirely from the one we saw in May. Peter Herbert has overseen the curation of the exhibition alongside his assistants Elaine Harper-Gay and Jane. He has created an exciting and bright new show that utilises 30 original works as well as many of the original postcards, these have been grouped together thematically to great effect. He hasn't included every work from the original show, so check the contributors list below.

The address if you would like to visit is, THE CONFERENCE CENTRE, ST PANCRAS HOSPITAL, 4 ST PANCRAS WAY, LONDON, NW1 OPE. It is open Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm (TRAVEL/BUS 46/214 TUBE/KINGS CROSS). Free Entry.

The exhibition finishes on Thursday 13th October 2016 with another inventive party. We'll post more details here in due course.

Welcoming guests to the opening event, Caroline Harris-Birtles, C&I’s Deputy Director of Nursing, said: “At Camden and Islington we are very keen to continue our strong support for art generally, but also specifically use this event as inspiration to attract further creativity from our own staff and service users.”

Left to right -
Professor Karen Norman, Peter Herbert and Caroline Harris-Birtles
Karen Norman, Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University and St Georges, part of London University, said the exhibition provided a showcase for what nurses did, but also to share some of their additional hidden talents and celebrate all that was good about the nursing profession.

The opening evening also featured singers and music from Key Changes, a charity that provides music engagement and recovery services in hospitals and the community for people experiencing mental health problems.

Artists exhibiting at the St Pancras Exhibition include -

Adesuwa D Igbinedion Nigie
Alan Carlyon Smith
Alban Low
Alexandra Billingham
Alice Auton
Alicia Bolich
Alison Clare Barrett
Amandeep Kaur Dahele
Amelia Bradley
Amy Bowers
Amy Mack
Andie Rose
Andrew Bolton
Ann Charlesworth
Ann Froggatt
Ann Kopka
Anne Guest
Anny Rice
Aran Illingworth
Aurelia Edmiston
Becky Fawcett
Beth Dodd
Biju Abraham
Bravika Chautan
Bryan Benge
Branko Jovanović
C. Carey
Camilla Afren
Carmel Blackie
Carne Griffiths
Carole Scott
Carolyne Kardia
Chantelle Benjamin
Charlie Osbourn
Charlotte CHW
Claire Leboutet
Crisna Maugi
Cristina Prudente
Dan Waters
Daniel Tejada
Daniella Scantori
David Evans
David Napier
Dean Reddick
Diana Trinca
Ed Arantus
Ekta Shah
Ella Penn
Ellen Haskins
Elliot Inglese
Emma Sackett
Emelia Adjei-Nyamekeh
Emily Davis
Emily Latham
Eskild Beck
Esperanza Tielbaard
Fatima Iqbal
Francine Neal
Friba Sarajzada
Gemma Pumford
George Keal
Georgia Clark
Harvey Wells
Hayley Walke
Helen Carter
Imogen Perkin
Interlany Cabral Phillips
Ire Bademosi
Izzy Prentice
Jackie Bennett
Jacqueline Talbot
Jelena Jovančov
Jenny Meehan
Jessica Adrianna Wayar 
Jill Mercer
Jo Peters
Josef Van den Bergh
Jovana Mitić
Jude Gill
Judith Parry
Julie Edwards
Kajal Shah
Karen Fay
Karin Andrews Jashapara
Kate Ward
Kayliegh Daly
Kisha Rai Limbu
Lauren Clark
Lesley Cartwright
Lisa Lecky
Ljiljana Stevanović
Louise Agyepong
Maisha Mapimhidze
Marchelle Boateng
Margret Emakpose
Mark Carr
Mary-Jane Todd
Matthew Woodward
Melanie Ezra
Michael Bolstridge
Mike Russell
Nargis Begum
Natalie Low
Natalie Snow
Nataliya Zozulya
Nikita Gwung
Nikki Yun
Olubukunola Temidava
Opal Moore
Patience Chejerai
Paula Cannon
Peter S Smith
Peter Turton
R. Bokino
Rachel Donnet
Ray Hobbs
Rebecca Dayalsingh
The Rev’d. Robin Pfaff
Rochell Walker-Collins
Ross Anderson
Ross Godwin
Roz Cran
Rumen Deshev
Sally Ward
Sharon Read
Smith Sinwar
Susie Mendelsson
Stacy Harris
Stella Tripp
Stephanie Selena Powell
Streka Canapi
Susan Farley
Syeda Udelin
Tamara Jelaca
Teresa Hunt
Theresa Nash
Tracy Boness
Tracy Ferriss
Tracey Adjedion
Trudi Levis
Tzedal Tesfamariam
Wayne Sleeth
Will Weatherburn
Yvette Douglas