Your impact and stories The Difference We Make Our Artists in Residences spread festive joy in Oxfordshire's Community Hospitals The Artists in Residence programme has been successfully keeping our Community Hospital patients entertained for the last six months with art projects, poetry, dance and storytelling. December has been no different and to bring some Christmas cheer to our residents there has been a host of projects available for them to get involved with. Patients and staff have taken part in poetry, storytelling, dance and art throughout the last few months as part of the Oxford Health Arts Partnerships project. This month all artists have been taking inspiration from the season and are helping to bring a festive feel to the wards. The six artists in residence are Sarah Moncrieff (Artist), Mary Chamberlain (Artist), Pat Winslow (Poet and storyteller), Roosa Leimu-Brown (Dancer), Tom Cross (Storyteller and Artist) and Dionne Freeman (Artist). Dionne Freeman said: “I have loved working with staff and patients during November and December – I have felt really privileged to spend time on the wards and to have the opportunity to share creative thoughts and ideas! We explored the seasons – transporting ourselves to warmer climates or embracing the winter scenes and we used this as inspiration to create imagined landscapes and sculptures.” Mary Chamberlain said: “Being on the wards at Christmas is always poignant, and this year especially. Using the power of creativity to relax, pass the time and provide an enjoyable experience seems more important than ever. Working individually with patients, I love using handmade stencils and drawing from selected images to explore line, colour and paint. “Using Christmas themed stencils yesterday, the patient created images of a reindeer, Christmas bauble, tree and snowman. It was great to hear her comments at the end of the time that she had enjoyed the experience and found it relaxing. Thank you to all the wonderful staff and patients at the Community Hospitals around Oxfordshire for welcoming us!” Sarah Moncrieff said: “Christmas can be a difficult time if you’re spending it in hospital. As one of the Artists in Residence, I have found that offering patients creative projects has helped take their mind off this and focus on something else. We have done a broad range of creative projects, and the run up to Christmas time seemed like a good time to think about card making and wintery scenes. “With the rise in Covid infections much of the work I have been doing with patients recently has taken place by the patient’s bedside rather than in groups which has allowed for some lovely conversations to take place. “Last week a patient at the Oxford Community hospital said to me: ‘You can stay here all day with me if you like’. This reminded me just how valuable the engagement in creative activity is.” Patient feedback: There’s been some great feedback from patients who have taken part in the art projects. Some of those who enjoyed their arty experiences said: “I never would have expected that I would do any art – let alone doing it in hospital!” “It’s given me confidence and something to do.” “Thank you, you have lightened my day.” “I wish I’d known about you earlier. That’s the best hour and a half I’ve spent since coming in here.” At the moment we are compiling the best artwork from the six months for an online gallery on Oxford Health Charity Website so keep an eye out for this. The Artist in Residence project funded by Oxford Health Charity is currently working on a plan for a longer project to start in 2022.