Providing children and teenagers with the opportunity to express themselves creatively in the hospital environment was at the heart of Scales & Tales, a six-month residency of music and storytelling at Cork University Hospital in 2011. The project was produced by Helium in partnership with Cork University Hospital Arts Committee and in collaboration with MusicAlive.
Once a month, musician Caoimhe Conlon and storyteller Fiona Dowling invited the children of the paediatric department together with parents, siblings and hospital staff to engage with musical instruments in making stories and characters come to life. The children chose an instrument from the musical trolley to make their own sound effects: from bongos to bells, xylophones to maracas, and everything else in between, the children were given an artistic outlet in a relaxed and informal environment.
‘At the weekends the children have visitors that can’t typically visit during the weekdays. So having the project at a time when siblings and relatives can participate in a fun and playful art project brings the whole family together, creating happy memories of their hospital stay and visit. Research has proven that positive memories during hospitalisation, especially for children who are in hospital frequently or for long periods, have long-ranging benefits into adulthood in terms of positive socialisation.’(Edelle Nolan, Arts Coordinator at Cork University Hospital)
‘When I see her happy like this, I feel so relieved‘
– Mother of a 17-month old girl
Learn more about the project here