Waterford Healing Art Trust: Call for applications Artist-in-Residence 2015

Waterford Healing Art Trust (WHAT) invites applications from artists of all arts disciplines for a six month residency based at University Hospital Waterford.

WHAT has been running an Artist in Residence programme since 1994 as a means of engaging hospital users in contemporary arts practice and offering opportunities to emerging artists for professional development within a healthcare context.

This year, while the resident artist is welcome to use the WHAT studio space for the production of his / her own work, the focus of this residency will be the artist’s engagement of patients in University Hospital Waterford in participatory / collaborative arts experiences.

This residency is funded by the Arts Council.


WHAT, based in the WHAT Centre for Arts and Health at University Hospital Waterford, is one of Ireland’s leading hospital arts programme. WHAT promotes the role of art in wellbeing through a multi disciplinary programme of arts activity which comprises an extensive art collection, art exhibitions, live music performances, artist-in-residence programmes and art making sessions for patients which is facilitated through a mobile Art Kart and Artist on Call. WHAT is keen to expand the availability of participatory / collaborative arts opportunities for patients through the 2015 artist in residence programme.

See www.waterfordhealingarts.com for further information on WHAT.

The hospital context

The acute hospital community is not one homogeneous body but a number of sub-communities (outpatients, inpatients, groups of chronically ill patients such as those on dialysis etc.) each with a different relationship with the institution in terms of the patient’s length and frequency of stay etc. The hospital can be a challenging yet rewarding place for an artist to work. Often progress can be slow. There are a number of technical restrictions imposed on the delivery of participatory / collaborative programmes and the presentation of artwork, performances and arts experiences in terms of space, health and safety and infection control. The turnover of staff and patients makes communication particularly challenging. The hospital experience can be an anxious one for patients which in turn impacts on their openness to engage with art and artists. The severity of a patient’s illness can also impact on his / her ability to engage in arts experiences.

The challenge of engaging patients in University Hospital Waterford in creative programmes has been met by various visual artists over the years in a range of ways – see http://www.artsandhealth.ie/case-studies/waterford-healing-arts-trust-artist-in-residence-programme/

Call for applications

WHAT invites artists of all arts disciplines with a commitment to participatory and collaborative practice to apply for its 2015 Artist-in-Residence programme. The successful artist will devise ways for engaging patients in participatory and / or collaborative arts experiences at the bedside, in the main hospital building and / or in the WHAT Centre for Arts and Health in the grounds of the hospital. This engagement may result in the public presentation of work, but not necessarily.

The artist will be given:

·         Studio space for a six month period with access to a digital darkroom, arts and health library, dance floor in the multi-use studio space, internet and administrative support as requested

·         A fee of €3500

·         €500 for materials and / or production costs.

·         Mentoring support from WHAT  staff

The artist will:

·         Engage part of the patient population of the hospital in participatory and / or collaborative arts experiences

·         Host an open day in his/ her studio space

·         Meet the management committee of WHAT

·         Produce a short report at the end of the residency

We are interested in hearing from artists whose practice fits with or can be adapted to the acute hospital environment.

The artist will be selected through a process of open competition. Criteria for selection will be:

·         Quality of the artist’s participatory / collaborative practice

·         The ‘fit’ between the artists’ practice and the hospital environment

·         Level of relevant experience

·         Commitment to the role of the arts in a healthcare context

·         The responsiveness of the practice to the context

·         The innovation of the artist’s proposal / ideas.

·         Benefit to the artist of the residency at this stage of his / her  career

·         Availability of the artist

How to apply

Those wishing to apply for the residency should submit:

·         A current CV (maximum 2 pages)

·         A residency proposal (maximum 300 words). This should include:

·         Your proposed approach to engaging with patients of UHW. What will be your creative invitation to patients? (see Appendix 1 - ’10 things to consider’)

·         Your personal aims for the residency. What do you hope to achieve as an artist?

·         What time commitment can you make to the residency over the 6 month period?

·         Documentation of practice: six to ten fully captioned images (slides/photographs/ CD of jpegs) /DVD / sound recordings / publications including where available documentation of collaborative practice

·         Contact details for two current referees

Recruitment schedule

Interested applicants are invited to attend a briefing session with the Arts Director and Assistant Arts Director in the WHAT Centre for Arts and Health on 4th February 2015 at 1pm. Please phone 051 842664 or e-mail WHAT@hse.ie no later than 2nd February to book your place.

Applications should be submitted to Mary Grehan, Arts Director, WHAT, University Hospital Waterford, Dunmore Road, Waterford no later than 27th February 2015 at 2pm. Applications can also be e-mailed to WHAT@hse.ie. E-mail applications should not exceed 12MB in size.  

Applications will be short-listed. Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend for interview on 11th March 2015 at 1pm.

It is hoped that the residency will begin by 30th April. This is however dependent on the artist having been successfully Garda Cleared by that date.

For further information on WHAT, see www.waterfordhealingarts.com. Contact 051 842664 or email WHAT@hse.ie if you have specific queries.