Flowers made with a patient in Medical 5

Caroline Schofield

2016

Caroline lives and works in Kilkenny. She studied Textiles in NCAD and received an MA in Art & Process from Crawford College of Art & Design in 2015. She is driven by an engagement with craft and a curiosity about narratives contained within materials from industrial steel, stone fabric, string and found objects. She manipulates and creates installations with these items referencing personal histories, place, people and memory.

Prior to her residency with WHAT, Caroline collaborated with artists’, women’s and children’s groups including GKV, Netherlands, Open Circle, Kilkenny Arts office, Crafts Council of Ireland, Natalie B Coleman and Derry City of Culture.  Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including Leydon Gallery, London, Convergence, Beijing & Shanghai, Culture/Craft, Derry. Her work is in collections in Ireland and abroad and can be seen in the OPW Per Cent for Art, Kilkenny Courthouse.

Given Caroline’s interest in memory, she chose to focus her residency at UHW on engaging with patients in Medical 5, the ward for older people. She is particularly interested in working with people with dementia and is an active member of the Dementia Friendly Working Group in the hospital.

Caroline describes her process of engagement: I am in interested in materials and how they help us to connect with each other. For example, a ball of string helped me to start a conversation with a patient in Medical 5 about his life as a grocer. Paper flowers triggered another conversation with a woman about her garden full of flowers. A book of poetry got one man talking about his life as a school teacher. When I began stitching patients’ names onto fabric, this generated memories about the women known to the patients who had stitched in their lives. A particularly beautiful moment was with a woman who let me stitch her name onto fabric. As I stitched, she spelt aloud the letters and said with delight “that’s my name”.’

My role as artist in residence means that I am not bound by medical routines and responsibilities. It is not my job to see the patient in medical terms. Our conversations are purely based on our creative connection.”

Caroline reached a wider hospital audience when she hosted an open studio event in the WHAT Centre in October 2016 which triggered a new work in which hospital staff from all units were invited to stitch their name onto the plans of the hospital.

Click here to read a report written by Caroline about her residency.