maps, gaps, zones…

How do the arts support the health of people who work within our healthcare system? The more that we speak about arts and health the more we become aware of practitioners who rely on the arts to support their own wellbeing as they work on the coalface of public health. When those who care for others, also take care of themselves through an active engagement with the arts, we have the beginning of an integrated model of care.


This week we are pleased to hear from David Glenister who is the Coordinator of Pastoral and Spiritual Care Services at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. David’s practice in public health is supported by his practice as an artist. He is currently exhibiting at Tacit Gallery in Johnston St, Abbotsford and says of his work:

My current exhibition, a series created over 2015-16, is called maps, gaps, zones (at Tacit, invitation attached).  I named it this because the show is about my area in the eastern suburbs on the border of an industrial zone, from macro maps, down to the particulars of the streets, buildings, trees, then into my home space, the porch, and then further down to the micro gaps of the external world and sky visible from my shed /studio .  Many of them, oils and works on paper, were created at night (some look dark indeed!)  My day job is Coordinator of Pastoral and Spiritual care Services at Royal Melbourne Hospital, a role which includes the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program and my self-care depends on having time in the studio when I get home.  As I write this I realise there is a congruency between the show’s themes and my daily experience on the job.  On the tram down Elizabeth Street I can see the hospital looming hugely on its corner betwixt Royal Parade, Flemington Rd and Grattan Street, then alight and traverse the blue lines and stairs to the office, and print the patient lists.  These lists are maps of the basic particulars of hundreds of people dispersed throughout this cavernous space, in various clinical zones, from ICU to Aged Care, though Oncology, Trauma and Palliative care.  After handover we disperse to our various zones, and the maps become actualised as we meet patients, and we peer through the clinical hardware (the industrial strength chemotherapy!), though the gaps to the human level of patent experience, glimpses of identity and resilience, and spiritual belief s and praxis, individual worlds and skies.

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