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Putting Art at the Heart of the Hospice

At St Columba’s Hospice, art is more than hanging a pretty picture on the wall. To us, it should be at the heart of everything we do.

The Hospice even has a strategy for including art in our services, environment and culture. This strategy has seen the installation of a beautiful display of 83 words along the glass corridor from reception to the Iona Café. The installation is called Our Hospice in Words and the words were chosen by you – our supporters, patients and families – when we asked you to describe what the Hospice means to you in one word.

IMG_6638We are also delighted that we now have a dedicated art room on the Pentland Ward, which is for all Hospice patients and families to use. The art room is where ar­t therapy and creative workshops can take place, and as it’s on our first floor ward it has lovely views over the Hospice, the Firth of Forth and to Fife – when the weather’s nice!

IMG_6511The art therapy and creativity workshops will be run by artists who will encourage families and patients to express themselves in a creative way.

IMG_6677Dr Erna Haraldsdottir, Director of Education and Research at the Hospice, said: “Using the medium of art can offer a safe way to engage with difficult feelings and express them, and art is increasingly being used in health care and more specifically in palliative care. We are very excited by the opportunity to be able to build up the use of art at the Hospice through partnership with artists and art organisations. By being able to offer art workshops, installations and therapy at the Hospice, we are expanding the ways we can care for our patients and their families. Not only can engagement with creative art offer patients and families a unique way to express feelings and thoughts, it also enhances wellbeing, and it can be fun too.”

IMG_6689The Hospice has also been working very closely with Edinburgh Printmakers. In partnership with the organisation, artists who make work in Edinburgh Printmakers’ studio have been invited to produce pieces of artwork that represent the ethos of St Columba’s Hospice and hospice care.

Also with Edinburgh Printmakers we are working towards having our own Artist in Residence. The artist will produce a series of art pieces which will be for permanent display in the Hospice and the grounds. The artist will be inspired by the work of the Hospice, the staff, patients, volunteers, families and our community, creating special one-off pieces that will be powerful and meaningful pieces of art.

IMG_6505Judith Liddle from Edinburgh Printmakers said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with St Columba’s Hospice. Over 400 artists use our fine art print studio every year, and during every 12 month period we support, inform and inspire their practice through a meaningful partnership project, culminating in a curated suite of art works for our winter show. This year, Time Is All Around has linked our creative professionals with St Columba’s Hospice, giving artists a meaningful understanding of palliative care and the humanity and beauty that can become intrinsic when embracing who we are in the face of mortality.”

“Edinburgh Printmakers’ member artists will work closely with St Columba’s Hospice to explore how we find meaning in our own personal experiences, the love of family and friends, freedom and peace.

“From when we first engaged in discussion about the Hospice’s plans to develop and sustain an artistic strategy, the Hospice’s ambition and earnestness has been clear and infectious. The benefits of these endeavours for families and patients are unmistakable.”

The exhibition, Time Is All Around, will be on show at Edinburgh Printmakers from 28 October to 23 December and all are welcome. The exhibition will then tour to St Columba’s Hospice in 2017.


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