We are working with arts and mental health groups to create a menu of 'slow media' pieces for patients to access through iPads at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The soundscapes of hospitals are a colossal disjuncture from the comforting and familiar surroundings of everyday life. The sounds of monitors and machines, sick patients, unfamiliar medical terms, the activities of clinical staff and the absence of familiar routines and diurnal rhythms, makes the soundscape quite alien. In addressing this, the project aims to anchor patients in the familiarity of local soundscapes, and familiar sounds embedded within slow film and music. Hospital in-patients can experience a lack of personal control over their environment and their own bodies. In exercising choice over their listening, patients gain some agency over their sonic environment, enhancing wellbeing and recovery.
The slow media pieces will be created as art therapy by local mental health support groups and by secondary school pupils, guided by experienced community artists. Organisations backing the project include ‘Open Mind’ (Real Time), Prospect Park NHS Hospital (mental health in-patients), The Engine Room (arts and mental health group), Nature Nurture CIC, Langtree and St Joseph’s School. The project also intends to establish a local ‘slow arts’ group as an ongoing support and legacy to the local community.