Heather Dimarco

Community Placement

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On reflection having recently completed my Community Placement with Artlink at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital I think I have learnt a great deal that will further me in my studies and has confirmed in my mind that this is the area I wish to pursue a career in.


Having had the opportunity to meet and work with many of the patients and workshop users I have learnt the great importance of the arts in their lives and how visually representing their experiences and thoughts can only better communication and understanding. In many cases this was the only way they could communicate what they were feeling. I felt very overwhelmed on many occasioned with the enjoyment and satisfaction seen by the service users.


It was a challenge for me having never worked with the arts in a health care setting but I feel I have learnt so much from this experience that I can take with me into future projects.


The collaboration between artist and patient was something I very much enjoyed but on refection needed a lot more time to continue to build a more stable relationship with each patient to develop a more individually suited project. I felt I only just got to know the patients on more individual bases, and started discussing possible projects when my placement was coming to an end.  


With the nature of mental health on a few occasions some service users where not able to continue with the work they has previously been working on and I feel that it  was more important that the patients continued to do what they felt was right on the day whether this was project work or not. This was very apparent with some services users the week after my presentation and as it was exploring and representing pain it was not appropriate to push this issue if they were not in the frame of mind from the week before. I felt challenged to find the right balance between encouraging work to made and not pushing it upon the services users.


I was extremely happy with the work produced with regards to the workshop presentation I initiated and feel it was a great success especially being such a hard subject from many of the services users to think about. The response I received from the patients was very positive and felt that they got a great deal out of it and using art to create a visual representation of something that is usually very hidden and hard to comprehend.

I initially went to hospital with a proposed art work however I did not feel that this was appropriate to the services users. I feel the most important part of the work Artlink does is imitating and supporting practice-led research between artists and the hospital community. I feel both parties learn a great deal from each other and its not always the final artwork produced that’s important but the process involved.


I have learnt so much from the Anne, the staff and the patients at the Hospital which I feel has only enhanced my own individual practice. I hope to keep in touch with everyone at the hospital and continue to volunteer myself in the future.   


Written by heatherdimarco

May 28, 2008 at 11:03 pm

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