Lambeth and Southwark stroke patients to benefit from arts grant

December 9, 2015

A project that will use art to capture the experiences and feelings of people in south London who have had a stroke will now go ahead, thanks to a grant from the Care UK wellbeing foundation, which promotes initiatives that use the arts to increase health and wellbeing.

The visual arts project has been devised by the team at the South London Stroke Register (SLSR), run by the Stroke Research Team at King’s College London. Since the SLSR was established in 1995, the team have been monitoring local people’s risk of stroke, recovery and quality of care. The research is used to influence policy and improvements in stroke care. Crucially, input from stroke survivors and their loved ones helps shape the research the team carries out.

The visual arts project will see students from University of Arts London (UAL) working with some of the register research participants to capture their stories using videos, photos and sound clips. The artwork will then be exhibited online and across accessible community venues in south London.

Dr Jenny Cook, stroke team research associate, said: “This is a unique collaboration with 10 people from the SLSR, most of who are over 65, who’ll work with young people with little or no experience of chronic illness or of working with older people. Participants on the SLSR have also told us they hope that the art work will influence people’s understanding of what a stroke is and how it affects them.

“We hope that both groups benefit from working together and that people visiting the exhibition gain a clearer insight into how strokes affect people’s lives. Initial feedback has been positive, with people telling us that they are happy to have the opportunity to share their stories and talk about their experiences.”

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Work has already begun, with patients meeting students and talking through their ideas for the project.

Suzanne Lawrence, Care UK’s managing director of primary care, said: “We work with many people who have had strokes – both through our residential care homes and through the physiotherapists in our secondary care treatment centres who help people to recover after falls. This project offers a wonderful opportunity to not only capture people’s views about living with the effects of a stroke, but it also has the potential to change the attitudes of the people who help to create the art, as well as those who come to view it.

“I think the SLSR does a wonderful job in sharing information and enabling patients and carers to feed into research and public policy, and this project is about giving people a voice. The Care UK wellbeing foundation was started for just this type of project, which promotes inter-generational shared learning through art.”

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