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In West Cork, we are no strangers to remoteness but it is a new kind of remoteness we find ourselves in . The distance not from urban resources but from each other.

In a series of separate discussions with visual artist Sarah Ruttle and Director of Nursing Skibbereen, Paddy Ryan we sought to explore what visual arts could be in this extreme time of distance and remoteness. Having worked on the Arts for Health programme for many years and built up a solid foundation of trust in her working relationships, we commissioned Sarah Ruttle to explore various ways of connecting and working with visual communications to ensure a meaningful connect with our participants on the programme, who have been cocooning in the Community Hospitals for six month now. Here Sarah describes her process and the ways she has sought to connect and perhaps more descriptive again are the images produced to document to the process,

‘Connecting with new participants and developing existing relationships through Arts for Health has been my aim in developing remote visual art sessions across the Community Hospitals during the current restrictions. I have been working with the support of each hospitals CMN2 and their staff who facilitate video calls with individual and group sessions. Having their support has made this project possible.

 Preparing individual envelops for each participant before each session has been a starting point for our remote sessions. In each envelop there is a series of visual cues to begin and continue conversation, along with different materials which the participant can choose to use during our session calls. Just one example of this work is a ‘collaborative making’ where a participant has drawn on lino while we talk. This was returned to me to cut and followed by us having a printing session video call, with the participant choosing colours and composition for their print. While other participants have been  making a series of drawings during our sessions. 

 Following each session I researched and prepared new envelops for participants developing a participant led project. My response includes the making of drawings responding to specific stories recognising our conversation and building on a development from each session.

 Sharing with participants and working in this new way has been a valuable exchange were as an artist I can see during the session time the participant is fully engaged and open to respond in conversation with laughter, song and making.’

  1. remote session in practice 2. preperation for remote working 3. Health Stregth & Beauty, by particpant