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Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 85–100 | Cite as

The Role of the Curator in Modern Hospitals: A Transcontinental Perspective

  • Hilary MossEmail author
  • Desmond O’Neill
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Medical humanities Curation Arts Hospital Arts and health 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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

Funding

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.

Ethical approval

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

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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Irish World Academy of Music and DanceUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland
  2. 2.Centre for Ageing, Neurosciences and the Humanities, Trinity Centre for Health SciencesTallaght HospitalDublinIreland

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