Arts and Health

Memory Dress

Memory Dress
Memory Dress. Charlotte Donovan and Marie Brett with St. Finbarr’s Hospital.

Charlotte Donovan and Marie Brett with St. Finbarr’s Hospital

Funded by the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme, supported by Triskel

The aim of the project was to involve different individuals and communities associated with St. Finbarr’s Hospital in the creation of unique, evocative artworks that celebrate and commemorate lives lived but not forgotten. Memory Dress afforded participants an opportunity for creative collaboration in an unlikely setting, creating a sense of community and empowerment within the hospital.

Project description The artists initiated a process where individuals associated with St. Finbarr’s Hospital  share memories of special moments or special people in their lives by creating ‘Memory Dresses’. The dress is a powerful symbol, a tangible manifestation of hopes and dreams attached to cultural milestones. Memory Dress developed through a series of mini-projects with patient groups from wards and departments around the hospital. The work in progress and the artistic process is being recorded in an individual notebook for each group. Memory Dress Postcards have been produced informing the hospital, arts organisations, and the public about the project and offering opportunities for participation.

An open workshop and exhibition of ongoing artwork was hosted by the artists and the hospital in the Social Centre on October 11 and 12, 2006. This workshop allowed for participants from the wards of the hospital, the staff, and other interested participants to view a broad range of ideas and materials in a social space with access to the artist’s reference material and artistic vision for the project, providing opportunities to make dresses as a response.

Several more open workshop sessions have been held which have welcomed staff and associated members of the public. A number of members of staff are working on the realisation of their own artworks in collaboration with the artists.  A diverse range of individuals have been involved in the creation of a sculptural installation to be sited in the grounds of the hospital.

Both individual patients and groups within the hospital have continued to develop their work during workshops and one-to-one contact sessions.  A local community group has been developing their own contribution to the project in association with the artists.

Through the Triskel website, the project has been receiving online memory submissions, and interest from individuals in creating a response to the project theme. The artists are working on a book which will record and celebrate the scope and diversity of the wide range of participation, and the process driven journey as well as the final artworks themselves.  Final artworks are beginning to be realised in preparation for the exhibition at Triskel in March 2007.

Flower dress trayFlower dress fireplace

related project
Artist in the Community Scheme

Marie Brett - Memory Dress
Triskel Arts Centre