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News archive 2007

Nursing School launches major arts project

18 Sep 2007

Culture and Care, a major new arts project commissioned by the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College London, launched yesterday with the unveiling of two new visual arts commissions: jewellery celebrating the life of Florence Nightingale and a series of portraits of staff and students at the School.

Over the past thirty years the arts have become an influential force in healthcare. The positive role they can play in the processes of caring for and healing patients is now well understood. For example singing is an effective physical and psychological intervention for improving mood and breathing as well as providing relief for respiratory disorders such as childhood asthma. Culture and Care celebrates the positive benefits of art within healthcare settings. It will enrich the life of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, encouraging staff and students to engage in arts and cultural activities and strengthening the sense of community and identity.

Jeweller Laura Potter has produced a collection of works exploring aspects of Florence Nightingale's life and legacy. Laura carried out extensive research in the Florence Nightingale Museum and Archive, a key partner in the Culture and Care project. Her neckpieces have a ceremonial quality and make use of materials which would have had a strong personal or professional significance for Florence Nightingale. Laura Potter comments: ‘One piece, called ‘uniformity', is made from a hospital gown and features medical equipment such as scissors and a thermometer. Another work, ‘soap and bandages', is made from carbolic soap and plaster bandages, both of which were important nursing materials which Florence Nightingale would have used in the Crimea.'

Photographer Eileen Perrier has taken a series of photographs of staff and students in a formal Victorian-style setting. Eileen specialises in making formal colour portraits and her work draws upon a long tradition of African portraiture and her connections with Ghana. Eileen Perrier says: ‘My aim was to unify all my sitters so I introduced a sash for them to wear bearing the initials of the School. 78 people came forward to have their photographs taken. It was great that students and staff came together in this way.'

Exhibition

During 2007/8 an exhibition of Laura's jewellery and Eileen's photographs will tour London teaching hospitals. A collection of twenty portraits taken by Eileen are on display utilising both the projection facilities and computer terminals outside the library in the Franklin-Wilkins building, Waterloo Campus, from the 17 September. Laura Potter will be producing a collection of works, which are on display in the glass display cases outside the library in the Franklin-Wilkins building.

These two works are the first in a series of Culture and Care initiatives planned for the next academic year. A number of projects are collaborations with the arts and humanities School within King's, other higher educational organisations such as Guildhall School of Music and Drama and cultural organisations including English National Opera and The South Bank Centre. Some of these partnerships have been facilitated by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise (LCACE), a collaboration of London's leading universities.

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, Dean of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, comments: ‘It's a pleasure to open this exhibition of Laura and Eileen's work to launch our Culture and Care project and we look forward to other exciting visual, performing and literary arts commissions over the next few months. All of these initiatives are designed to release the creative energies and to celebrate the diverse identities of our staff, students and visitors.

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