Image courtesy of Dr Sarah Goldingay.

Research-based healing exhibition at Musgrove Park

An exhibition on healing will bring together people’s experiences of physical and mental mending as part of a research project.

How are you healing? will incorporate artistic expressions across the healing spectrum, from mending broken bodies to finding wholeness of mind, body and soul.

The exhibition, which will take place at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset from 28 April to 7 August, will showcase aspects of the materials gathered as part of a research project on healing by a team at the University of Exeter.

The research, funded by The Institute of Integrative Health (TIIH), based in Baltimore, USA, asked residents in the South West of England the question “What does healing mean to you?”. They expressed their responses in drawings and words that will be illustrated at the exhibition.

The exhibition has been designed and produced by the artist Deborah Weinreb, with the help of Musgrove Park Hospital’s Art for Life team. As part of this project, the Exeter team has also been collaborating with Art for Life, and the ‘End of Life Group’ in Musgrove Park Hospital, on their poetry project being led by nurse practitioner and writer, Allison Day.

Professor Sarah Goldingay, of the University of Exeter, said: “In today’s demanding world, we can be broken in so many ways. We are evolved for our “fight or flight” response to release panic hormones when we see a sabretooth tiger – but in the stresses of modern life, that same response can kick in over pressures at work. We need to understand how we can heal ourselves and how we can support others to heal, so more of us can return to happy and fulfilling lives as quickly as possible. This research helps us understand people’s relationships with healing as part of that work.”

The exhibition explores four core themes:

  1. The many ways in which we can be ‘broken’.
  2. The need for connections to others and to the world around us, and for love and care.
  3. Healing at the end of life’s journey and the possibility of a good death.
  4. Wholeness and oneness.

The designer, artist Deborah Weinreb, has drawn various aspects of the research together to illustrate these themes showing some of the common thoughts and alliances that exist between people's understanding of healing. She said, “It has been a real privilege to immerse myself in this research and try to produce outcomes that can inspire others to explore these themes”.

The exhibition offers insights into notions of healing and invites audiences to reflect on their own experiences. The curators welcome your feedback and responses to the work.

Professor Paul Dieppe said: “Many of us become ‘broken’ in some way during our lives. Our exhibition explores what we can do when that happens. How can we find a new pathway to wholeness and travel our own ‘healing journey’? While we have the capacity to heal ourselves from some kinds of brokenness, often we need help and this often comes from connecting to something outside ourselves: from other people, or from nature, or arts or spiritual belief.

“Healing journeys are not just about us as isolated individuals, they can be about relationships, families, groups, outdoor spaces. Our exhibition and the research it stems from seek to explore the wide spectrum of healing stories.”

Dr Sam Barrell from Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton said: “We’re delighted to host this event, which speaks so strongly to the very business we are all about – healing.

“We are encouraging all our staff, patients and visitors to the hospital to come along to get an insight into how people relate to the many different forms of healing, and to share their own stories on this important subject that affects us all.”

The research team consists of Professor Paul Dieppe, Dr Sarah Goldingay and Dr Emmylou Rahtz, of the University of Exeter, aided by many other colleagues in many countries, most notably Professor Sara Warber from Ann Arbor, USA.

Date: 27 April 2017

Read more University News