In March 2020 Artlink was asked by Mental Health Day Services in West Lothian to provide art sessions at Pentland Court, St John’s Hospital in Livingston as a part of the response to the emerging pandemic. Here adults with enduring mental ill health receive rehabilitation support in preparation for their return to community living. Being resident in hospital during these times can be incredibly isolating, mundane and does little to encourage an individual to think ahead with positivity. So, it was important for us to create an arts input that encouraged forward thinking and planning towards a time when there could be a positive and active involvement in our communities.
We mostly work in a small, adapted studio space in Pentland Court so that we can work in a socially distanced and Covid safe way. Whenever the easing of restrictions allowed, we have also made use of the well-equipped ceramics and arts studio at the nearby Howden Park Centre. We have been exploring ways that conversations about experiences during current Covid times can be visualised. The time together offers us an opportunity to look at different ways in which we can develop our ideas that reflect our shared interests and passions and think about how this work might be adapted for more public situations.
‘I Miss a Dance’ is inspired by conversations between Sharon and artist Francesca during the studio sessions. Both love music, dancing, and socialising. Their collaborative work is inspired by the things they miss. With the same energy and creativity they have shown in developing the work, they are now planning to create a series of props and backdrops for community and creative events at Howden Park Centre in the year ahead.
Continuity and the opportunity to get back involved in our studio workshops have been important over the past year. Stuart has been an ever-present creative force within our Sanctuary project at Boghall since 2015. When Stuart became unwell in 2020 he had to stay at Pentland Court for a short period. During this short time of ill health Stuart continued to explore his interest in poster making and screenprinting and when he returned home he continued this work at our studio sessions at Boghall.
We look forward to sharing the creative energy and experiences of the many people involved at Pentland Court and our other Leylines projects with others in our communities when the time comes.