Beyond Therapy: Situating art and design in healthcare contexts (CfP, Loughborough University, 6-8 April 2017)

Panel 4 at Association of Art Historians (AAH) annual conference 2017

Deadline for Paper Proposals: 7 November 2016

Convenors: Tamar Tembeck (McGill University); Mary Hunter (McGill University)

In Europe and North America, greater attention is being paid to the built environment in medical spaces. ‘Healthy design’ initiatives are increasingly being integrated into hospital planning. Such initiatives are consistent with the WHO’s definition of health, which includes ‘mental and social well-being’ as well as ‘the absence of disease or infirmity’. Government percentage-for-art schemes and public art funding policies count amongst ‘healthy design’ initiatives. These have allowed for integration of art in hospital architecture, commissioning of in situ works, and establishment of artists’ residences in medical environments.

Existing studies on art and design in healthcare contexts overwhelmingly focus on accumulating evidence of beneficial impacts on patients’ recovery and general well-being. However, since the birth of hospitals in the Middle Ages, the integration of art has played a variety of other roles in medical spaces. These range from providing contemplative touchstones for patients, staff, and visitors, to improving the institution’s image in the public eye.

This panel is open to historians of art, architecture and design, as well as cultural practitioners, programmers and policymakers. Participants are invited to reflect upon, critique and question the forms and functions of contemporary and historical art and design practices in a range of healthcare environments. There is particular interest in investigating art and design practices that are deployed outside of an explicitly therapeutic context (eg, in art therapy). Submissions pertaining to live art practices in healthcare spaces are also welcome.

Please email your paper proposals to session convenors Tamar Tembeck and Mary Hunter. Provide a title and abstract for a 25-minute paper (max 250 words). Include your name, affiliation and email. You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks.

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