Clive Parkinson is the Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, the UK’s longest established arts and health unit. He was project lead on the HM Treasury funded; Invest to Save: Arts in Health Project and is a passionate advocate for culture and the arts. He is working to further understand the potential impact of the arts on public health, in partnership with Arts Council England, North West and the Department of Health, Public Health Team, North West. He is currently facilitating a series of participatory workshops with those interested in the impact of the arts on wider society. Under the banner of M A N I F E S T O he is working towards a distinctly proactive approach to the arts/health agenda in relationship to the ongoing financial 'down-turn'. As a visual artist, he worked in a hospital for people with learning difficulties whilst undertaking a degree at Lancaster University focusing on the relationship between creativity, culture, the arts and health. Employed variously by the NHS and voluntary sector, Clive has led on mental health promotion for an NHS Trust and managed day services for people affected by schizophrenia in the seaside town of Morecambe.
The Interior, Design and Health
Science and Art have long been held up as the twin pillars of civilized society, and increased awareness of the impact of design on health and well-being is evidenced by diverse collaborations. Against a backdrop of conspicuous consumption and global financial downturn, this paper will explore the relationship between design and our aspiration for societal well-being, taking into account how we live our lives, and the manner in which we die.
If you are given the diagnosis of cancer or dementia, the likelihood that this news is given to you in a clinical environment is high, as is that it will be given to you by a highly trained clinician. That you’d be concerned either for the design of the environment or the integration of the arts into this space, would in all probability, be an irrelevance to you. Given a diagnosis of any serious disease, we cling to the professionalism and speed of a responsive heath system that will act in our best interest and provide treatment that is well-considered and effective. In fact, considering design and the arts seems ridiculous in the face of illness and are own mortality. Yet, there is a growing awareness amongst clinicians that in the face of illness and dying; that the humanities offer medicine something other than scientific reductionism.
This paper will focus on the seemingly tenuous relationship between design and health and assert that its potential impact on future patients is far reaching.
I will use the motif of the patient journey as useful place to begin, because like it or not, we are all patients (increasingly consumers) of health services at some point in our lives, and for those of us in robust health, the likelihood of our final moments of life taking place inside a hospital intensive care unit, (ICU) is far more probable than us gently slipping away in the comfort of our own bed, surrounded by the ones we love.
It is my assertion, that in considering all aspects of health and well-being, from the clinical setting to the community we live in; we must consider the extremes of the human condition, to better understand how to affect long-term cultural change in the way we plan, deliver and value our public health.