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​​​​​​​​Current Projects​​

The Art of Precious Scars ​

Donated Lulworth Oak Tree Supports Organ Donation

Over the last few months, visitors to Dorset County Hospital may have been intrigued to see a set of railway tracks arrive in the cardiology courtyard followed by an oak tree with splendid golden boughs. 

As part of a project designed to celebrate the gift of life through organ donation, a new sculpture by Dorchester based artist Andy Kirkby, is being assembled on site. A “tree of life”, the sculpture is also inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi where broken ceramics are lovingly restored with gold resin to highlight their wounds rather than to try to hide them. In this way they are reused and become a thing of beauty instead of being thrown away. Andy Kirkby sees this as a metaphor for the way in which organ donation is a gift of life that repairs the recipient. It is also why he is calling the sculpture “Precious Scars”. The oak tree has been donated to the hospital from the Lulworth Estate, where it died some time ago, and is now being re-born at the Hospital.​

Image: Design Proposal

The project has been the initiative of the Organ Donation team at Dorset County Hospital, led by Consultant Anaesthetist Andy Ball and Specialist Nurse Helen Rose. In planning the sculpture Andy Kirkby has spent time at the hospital speaking to the team, as well as organ recipients. The team hope that this sculpture will be seen as a way of thanking previous donors and their families for their gift, but also to encourage more people to consider signing up as donors, talking about it with their families and registering their choice at www.organdonation.nhs.uk 

 “As clinical lead for organ donation at DCH I have wanted in some way to celebrate the fantastic gift that our donors and their families have made to help the lives of others. A restructuring of one of the hospital courtyards with essential new equipment for a laboratory has left a vacant space requiring enhancement and has provided the perfect place for this celebration of life. We were excited to choose Andy Kirkby for the commission from a national field of 100 applicants. Andy had a clear understanding of what organ donation means and his resulting sculpture refers to the new life that this allows. It is urgent for us to get this message across as every day in the UK 3 people die while waiting for a donor organ and every donor has the potential to help up to 6 people.”

Andy Ball, Organ Donation Lead at DCH

Image: The Art of Beautiful Scars, Detail

I am intending to re-construct an oak tree by splicing and scarf jointing the old branches back into place. This re-constructive process will be undertaken in the manner of the Japanese art of ‘Kintsugi’ which can be translated as ‘the art of precious scars’.  In ancient Japan, when a ceramic cup or bowl fell and broke, the pieces would be carefully re-bonded using tree resin and the joints embellished with gold leaf. The reformed object became functional again, it’s scars giving the object  greater importance and meaning; the branches of the donor tree with be gilded with gold to reflect this concept. The oak tree has been kindly donated by the Weld estate, Lulworth, where it has lain dormant in a Dorset wood for some sixty years.” 

Andy Kirkby 

Discover more about Andy Kirkby’s work here: www.andykirkby.com​ 
Contact Andy Kirkby for images or quotes: andrewkirkby2016@gmail.com 

Our Photographer in Residence

DCH staff - Would you like the world to know more about the great work you do ? A picture tells a thousand words…

Professional photographer Andy Whale will be DCH's official photographer in residence over the coming year and wants to hear from any wards or departments who would like to participate in "Care in the NHS". This a photographic project, supported by Arts in Hospital, documents the care given to patients at Dorset County Hospital by staff at the hospital seven days a week, twenty four hours a day. We want to capture the moving moments and interaction between staff and patients. 

Photo Credit: Andy Whale

The results of the residency will be the basis of an exhibition at Dorset County Hospital which we will then aim to tour to other social and healthcare locations in Dorset and further afield strengthening engagement with our health and social care partners and improving the wellbeing of our communities. Contact alex.murdin@dchft.nhs.uk to find out more. See examples of Andy's work and a project description here: Care in the NHS.pdf 

START ART in the Discharge Lounge

Our brand New micro exhibition space  ​

To be completely well we know that physical health and mental health go together so Arts in Hospital is very pleased to be involved with a new collaboration between Dorset County Hospital and the Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust mental health team. 

We have created a new micro - exhibition space in the Discharge Lounge where patients wait to leave the hospital. The exhibitions will be programmed by the START (Support, Transition And Recovery Team) group from Bridport who make art and photography together. 

START are a mental health team that work with service users from hospital admission, through to community and onto discharge from mental health services.  They support the people who use are services to set realistic and meaningful goals doing the things that they enjoy and also find challenging. We hope the opportunity to exhibit work publically inspires budding local artists, whilst distracting patients who are waiting to go home.


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