Health welcomes artistic science treatment

Arts, science and health formed an even tighter bond when they teamed together to provide a better outcome for younger people transitioning from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead into the adult hospital.

Minister Responsible for Youth Ray Williams was on hand at the Westmead Connectivity Centre to present the Health and Arts Research Centre (HARC) with a $50,000 grant to fund its Science Arts Explorers Project.

The project will identify and grow young western Sydney artists to explore the benefit of arts and science plus ultimately showcase their work in the new Adolescent and Young Adults (AYA) space to open at Westmead Hospital next year.

The minister’s funding announcement was accepted by HARC director Marily Cintra (above) who outlined the project’s objectives to guests, including MPs Mark Taylor and Dr Geoff Lee, general manager of Westmead and Auburn hospitals Brett Thompson, Multiplex regional director Brendan Sweeney, and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network’s director of planning and redesign Tim Hoffmann.

“There is a need to create opportunities for young people in western Sydney to experiment with creative science and arts activities,” Ms Cintra said. “This is particularly important for young people who live with chronic health issues.

“This partnership is a great opportunity for youth employment, training and creative engagement to develop interactive artworks for that AYA space – a service that currently engages more than 1000 people a day.”

The power of interactive art and its healing properties were a constant thread during the function.

A robotic dog cake welcomed guests to the room, a patient spoke about her close health/art relationship, and a talented young artist and computing education specialist provided insight into their very different artistic worlds.

Robotic art ... Owen Brasier from the Australian Computing Academy gives Minister Ray Williams and Seven Hills MP Mark Taylor an insight into robotics. The ACA is a University of Sydney-led centre that provides primary and secondary educators with the resources and skills required to effectively implement the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

Owen Brasier from the University of Sydney’s Australian Computing Academy introduced guests to his “bit bots” during a site tour.

Keen to showcase how workshops through the grant would target the science sphere through robotics, Mr Brasier provided the minister and MPs a hands-on explanation of what drove his creations.

“We’re using addressable LEDs and robots, and giving artists new tools to express their creativity as opposed to doing a purely science or purely arts project,” he said.


Art in motion ... Madeleine Poll unveils her artwork, created in real-time during the event using Westmead flora.

Tasked with producing real-time artwork during the official function to celebrate the grant, artist Madeleine Poll overwhelmed guests with her celebration of flora to honour the Darug nation.

Madeleine said her artwork was inspired by the flora gathered around the centre that morning.

Tying the messages together was Silia Cluff, who took guests on her journey through The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as a four-year-old kidney transplant recipient to transitioning to the Adolescent and Young Adults service to Westmead Hospital as an adult patient.

The talented photographer said she was now on the road to recovery from a second kidney transplant less than three months ago – and art continued to play a large part in her life-time of treatment.

“HARC helps me to continue my love of art,” she said. “The relationship between health and art is so strong, especially for patients.

“Art is a way to express yourself without verbally communicating.

“Sometimes as a patient, you just don’t want to talk and art gives you that opportunity. It’s a great release.

“I look forward to the art created in this project and how it helps others, like my art has helped me.”


Related Information

New arts labs at Westmead