At first sight, Sheelagh Broderick’s installation at the Jennings Gallery, College of Medicine and Health UCC, is arresting in its simplicity: a slender hospital trolley is laid out in a dimmed room. But all is not as it seems. On approaching, you realise that something lies beneath the surface. And if you reach out, it responds by lighting up, creating an illuminated dance beneath your hand. “I wanted to provide an opportunity for spectators to become part of the artwork by making a piece that not only was interactive, but also had a life beyond the gallery space”, explained Broderick. Lining the trolley is a deck of sensory lights, which react to proximal movement. “If all you see is a bed, that’s all it will be,” said Broderick. “But if you decide to play – it will respond”. The project also offers the opportunity for virtual exploration on a website www.medicineasculture.com participants can review their own and other performances creating a temporary online community – the Society for Medicine as Culture”.
A former arts coordinator at Cork University Hospital, Broderick has a longtime interest in arts & health practices and is currently pursing a PhD inquiry at the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media, Dublin. Last Spring she facilitated workshops with healthcare professionals who have had a role in commissioning or implementing arts projects in different healthcare settings across diverse care areas. The arts project mac (medicine as culture) is a creative response to these workshops. “I’m curious how up ’til now these practices have been so prevalent and yet invisible”. Indeed the first national independent Arts and Health website in Ireland artsandhealth.ie was launched in October this year with the support of the Arts Council.
The project would not have been possible without the assistance of many individuals and organizations. In particular, she says “I was fortunate to have had the support of a mentor, Marie Brett last Spring through Connect, an Arts Council funded professional development initiative managed by Create and Common Ground”.
See project website for more information