Artist – Sharon Dipity
Bridging the Imagination
Skibbereen Community Hospital
Bridging the Imagination aimed to explore task-based performance art around the theme of bridges with a group of older people in Skibbereen Community Hospital. The project was realised through four weekly sessions with a group of six residents, and investigated bridges as a metaphor for connection and transcending obstacles through movement, spoken word, storytelling, soundscapes, drawing, and sculpture.
‘To begin with, I found exploring performance with the group challenging and a little out of my comfort zone, concerned that they might feel uncomfortable or find it ‘weird’. In fact, these were my inhibitions, and the participants embraced the project wholeheartedly, willing to have a go at whatever I brought to the sessions. This project has given me more confidence to try out new ways of working and has influenced my current practice.’
Sharon Dipity undertook this project as a means to explore new ways of working, focusing in particular on incorporating a performative element into her participatory practice.
Over the project’s duration, participants responded to the saying “A bridge too far” through pen drawings, built bridges using cardboard, driftwood, twine, and collected natural materials, and created soundscapes and audio pieces based on discussions fostered throughout the process.
Sharon responded to the work through creating a series of drawings of bridges and three bridge sculptures. She also made a set of ‘prompt cards’ which the group used to create the sound piece “A collective remembering”, reflecting on the artistic process and capturing a moment of the projects final stages.
A slideshow presentation was shared with participants and hospital staff at the end of the project, and each participant was presented with a handmade, personalised Thank You card from Sharon.
This project took place over a period of three months in 2022.
‘I’m glad I did that today. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. It’s years and years since I’ve made anything. I’m glad I achieved it, what I wanted to do.’
Angela. Participant, Skibbereen Community Hospital, 2022.
‘The positive impact of Sharon’s project extended far beyond the residents themselves. By involving the residents she not only provided them with a sense of purpose and belonging but also created a stronger sense of community within our hospital. The personalised approach Sharon took allowed our residents to foster a sense of pride, purpose and accomplishment. I was very impressed with how Sharon managed to create an inclusive approach and it was truly a delight to see the residents faces light up as they shared their stories.’
Joan Browne, Director of Nursing, Skibbereen Community Hospital.
Credit: Images by Sharon Dipity.
This project was supported by an Arts Council Agility Award, and the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre.
Sharon Dipity received mentorship from Dr. Katja Hilevaara, Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and specialist dementia advisor, Sarah Cairns. Project support was provided by Sandya Zachariah, CNM2, Skibbereen Community Hospital, and Justine Foster, Programme Manager, Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre.