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Day 4 - Text: Off site, Studio Day

I am working off site this week and last week as the hospital play specialist is away on holidays. 

I am going to maintain continuity with the project by 1.) installing a self sustaining arts activity in the staff room on the ward and 2.) linking remotely from my studio with the other artists and children in the other 3 hospitals.

I installed a group collage making activity in the staff room with a sign inviting them to participate in making a scene of a curious and beautiful place in the world.  This idea had multiple aims.  One being that the large collage would provide a way to include and inform staff about the Puppet Portal Project.  Another aims was to support a creative relationship between the staff and their adult world and the children and their playful world.  The scene or backdrop created by the staff could be taken back to the children to incite further stories, and be used as a backdrop when making puppet plays and videos.   

I left a stack of travel magazines and some images already torn, to facilitate a very simple and easy process. I planned to visit the staff room 2--3 times over the two weeks to maintain the materials and activity and to motivate.  It was also an opportunity to get to know staff better and to have conversations around the Puppet Portal Project and what it was about.  My first two visits revealed that the staff were making the collage their own, with humorous and light hearted images which they had cut or torn from their own reading material. 

The image emerging from the collage seemed to be less child appropriate and more of an outlet for staff to amuse themselves.  Each time I visited, I encouraged  the staff to continue and progress the piece, while we sat and had a cup of tea.  Although the piece does not seem to be evolving in the direction I hoped it might, I am delighted that the staff are getting involved.  It is important that I work at the point at which they are are at the moment, with the hope that the next activity will see progress in terms of confidence, thought process, and experimentation.  I also hope that I will be able to use parts of the collage with the children.

 I have one more visit to make to the staff room this week on Wednesday.  This has been a great learning process of how to communicate an activity when you can`t always be there to explain in person to everyone.  Simpler is certainly the better.  In conversation with our project mentor, I became interested in continuing the "Staff Creative Corner" through out the project.  I also hope to install a similar simple exercise in the doctor`s residence (as the doctors don`t use this staff room) and also at the nurse`s station.

Also last week, and again this week, I will facilitate a live link up with the other artists and children in the other three hospitals.  The idea is that I will animate a puppet character  which will speak about his imaginary culture and encourage the children`s puppets to speak about theirs.  Please see Siobhan Clancy`s entry for Day 4, under Hospital C for a report on our link up.  Unfortunately I had only use of the sound, but we discovered an opportunity in working in this way. Please see video example, recorded during the live link up.

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