The first trip was to Chatsworth House where the group made drawings, took photos and used various looking tools to explore both the contemporary art on display outside and inside and some of the treasures collected by previous Dukes during their Grand Tours.
The second day trip was to Chesterfield’s famous medieval Crooked Spire Church. The participants created coloured acetate ‘window’s, made foil rubbings of carvings, and pressed flowers.
The final trip was on a canal boat on the Chesterfield Canal. This was a magical trip; contemplative and yet exciting. The group saw kingfishers, wrote group poems, and made artworks with plants and objects that were visible along the canal bank.
Each of the group members were given a small digital camera to use and they all took lots of photos, although some had never used a camera before. The journals built up over the weeks with photos, drawings, collages, and text. They became a useful way for the participants to retain the memories of the trips and to talk to staff about them.
For the longer term, the sessions inspired staff to continue using the artistic process of creating a journal as way of better understanding each participant’s interests during their lives and capturing their personal responses to the here and now. They also showed that it is possible to take patients out on days trips and how much stimulus, group bonding and well being was generated by them.
-With thanks to Nottingham Contemporary Associate Artist Gillian Brent for this piece.