The Role of the Curator in Modern Hospitals: A Transcontinental Perspective
This paper explores the role of the curator in hospitals. The arts play a significant role in every society; however, recent studies indicate a neglect of the aesthetic environment of healthcare. This international study explores the complex role of the curator in modern hospitals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten arts specialists in hospitals across five countries and three continents for a qualitative, phenomenological study. Five themes arose from the data: (1) Patient involvement and influence on the arts programme in hospital (2) Understanding the role of the curator in hospital (3) Influences on arts programming in hospital (4) Types of arts programmes (5) Limitations to effective curation in hospital. Recommendations arising from the research included recognition of the specialised role of the curator in hospitals; building positive links with clinical staff to effect positive hospital arts programmes and increasing formal involvement of patients in arts planning in hospital. Hospital curation can be a vibrant arena for arts development, and the role of the hospital curator is a ground-breaking specialist role that can bring benefits to hospital life. The role of curator in hospital deserves to be supported and developed by both the arts and health sectors.
KeywordsMedical humanities Curation Arts Hospital Arts and health
The National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght Hospital where the first author was Director while conducting this research. The Meath Foundation who part funded the research post of HMoss.
The ten participants who were interviewed for this research: Michelle Cassavant, Manager, Arts in Healthcare at Friends of University Hospitals Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, Canada, www.albertahealthservices.ca/services.asp?pid=service&rid=1044901; Guy Eades, Director Healing Arts, Isle of Wight, UK, www.iow.nhs.uk/healingarts; Sally Francis, Arts Co-ordinator, Arts in Health, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia, www.flinders.sa.gov.au/artsinhealth/pages/intro/; Damian Hebron, Head of Arts, Addenbrooke’s Arts, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK, www.cuh.org.uk; Mary Grehan, Director, Waterford Healing Arts Trust, Waterford, Ireland, www.waterfordhealingarts.com; Dr Jenny McFarlane, Curator, Arts in Health, Health Service Planning, Canberra, Australia, http://www.arts.act.gov.au/community-participation/arts-and-health; Christina Mullen, Director, Shands Arts in Medicine, Florida, USA, http://artsinmedicine.ufhealth.org; Edelle Nolan, Arts Co-ordinator, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland, www.cuh.ie; Katherine Trapanovski, Program Director, Arts in Healthcare Initiative, Center for the Arts, Buffalo, New York, USA, www.ubcfa.org; Laura Waters, Arts Programme Manager, Derby Teaching Hospital, Derby, UK www.airarts.net.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was funded by The Meath Foundation (Grant number 14/105).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (St. James/Tallaght Hospital Ethics Committee) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study and additional informed consent was obtained from all individual participants for whom identifying information is included in this article.
- Alexander, V. 2003. Sociology of the Arts. Oxford, Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Arts Council Dublin. 2006. "The Public and the Arts." Published by the Arts Council, December. Accessed 9 November 2016. http://www.artscouncil.ie/uploadedFiles/PublicandtheArts2006.pdf.
- Arts Council England. 2007. "The Arts, Health and Well-being." Published by the Arts Council. Accessed 28 September 2010. http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/publication_archive/the-arts-health-and-well-being/.
- Aston, J. 2009. “Hospital Arts Co-ordinators: An Accidental Profession?” Unpublished thesis, Clore Fellowship. Accessed 9 November 2016. http://www.artsandhealth.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Hospital-arts-co-ordinators-an-accidental-profession.pdf.
- -----. 2007. "Why not Ask the Patient? An Evaluation of the Aesthetic Surroudings in Hospitals by Patients." Quality Management in Health Care 16 (3): 280-292.Google Scholar
- Chatterjee, H. J. 2012. "Museums, Health and Wellbeing: The Ezine of the Heritage Council." Accessed 12 November 2012. http://heritagecouncil.newsweaver.ie/newsletter/uojwrijkcs78e5c9cgdhxz?a=2&p=29213535&t=22197755.
- DeNora, T. 2013. Music Asylums: Well-being through Music in Everyday Life. Ashgate Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
- Dumenco, S. 2011. "Why calling Yourself a Curator is the new Power Move." Accessed 13 November 2015. http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201103/curator-power-move-trend.
- Jacobs, E. 2014. "Streaming Services: Confessions of a Music Curator." The Financial Times August 14. Accessed 15 November 2015. https://www.ft.com/content/18093f00-18a1-11e4-a51a-00144feabdc0.
- Kieran, M. 2005. "Value of Art." In The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics edited by B. Gaut and D. McIver Lopes, 293-307. Abingdon, Routledge.Google Scholar
- McFarlane, J. 2015. Curator, Arts in Health, Health Service Plannning, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
- ------. 2014. "Hospitalization and Aesthetic Health in Older Adults." Journal of the American Medical Directors Assocation 16 (2): 173 e11-e16.Google Scholar
- ------. 2014b. "Aesthetic Deprivation in Clinical Settings." The Lancet 383:1032-1033.Google Scholar
- Museum Associations Organisation. 2015. "Curating the Nation." Accessed 23 June 2015. http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/11062015-curating-the-nation.
- Obrist, H. U. 2015. Ways of Curating. Penguin Random House, UK.Google Scholar
- Oxford University Press. 2015. Accessed 27 October 2015. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/curator.
- Plagens, P. 2013. "Cool Curating." Arts in America (Jan): 41-44.Google Scholar
- Van Manen, M. 1990. Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy. New York: State University of New York.Google Scholar