Bell, C. (2015). Artist as undertaker : Flower Tower and community art at Caritas Christi Hospice, Melbourne. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art Therapy,10(1), 43-55.
This paper discusses a community-based art in healthcare project implemented at Caritas Christi Hospice in Melbourne, Australia. It examines how the experience of weekly participation in creating a communal artwork facilitated well-being, by offering participants a forum that minimised their role as patients in end-of-life care and reframed their identity as creative collaborators. When the year-long residency started in May 2012, the aim was to combine studioled research and meaningful engagement with the patients who attend palliative day care. This communal art project fostered collaboration and connectivity where the individual creative contribution was vital to the evolution of a larger communal artwork. The article investigates how creative arts in palliative care promote well-being. The outcomes are evidenced in informal interviews, where patients were invited to recount their experiences of taking part in the project. Additionally, questionnaires were distributed to members of the public who viewed the communal artwork in progress in the hospice, and at the final exhibition in an art gallery. Questionnaire responses clarified the impact of the communal artwork on the public’s perception of the role of art in healthcare settings. These interviews and audience feedback during the different stages of its evolution and display provide practical insights into the objectives and outcomes of the participatory artwork, Flower Tower (2012-13).
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