Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King Photograph: Stephen King

Bedside Manners

A visual installation with sound

Originally installed at Evelina London Children’s Hospital July 2013. 

Bedside Manners was created over 9 months with parents of children attending Evelina London Children’s Hospital. 

From November 2012 Sofie Layton spent a day a week in the hospital Dialysis Unit, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), hospital school and main wards working with parents and families alongside Evelina Hospital School teaching staff, nurses and play therapists.

Parents of ill children spend a great deal of time in hospital supporting their children. Understandably, medical care and education provision is focused on the child with parents spending much time as observers and carers. This project sought to find an alternative way to involve parents through a series of creative processes, giving voice to their knowledge and feelings, and providing a resource for other families attending the hospital.

Parents were invited by Sofie to create intimate postcard-sized art works using different techniques, such as embossing the form of a heart, kidney or cellular/bacterial form which had been screen printed onto thin aluminium rectangles, or embroidering organs which related to their children’s illnesses. Sofie collected sounds from the hospital and recorded conversations with parents and staff which composer Jules Maxwell made into the sound-scape which accompanied the installation.

For the parent, throughout the time a child is in hospital the hospital bed and the child’s bed space becomes their world. This installation re-imagined that bed space and imbued it with the bravery, resilience and fragility which was expressed by the parents. It also reflected the commitment and dedication of the staff. 

Bedside Manners is dedicated to parents and children everywhere who will spend time in children’s hospitals.

Installation designed and created by Sofie Layton
Sound by Jules Maxwell
Produced by Anna Ledgard

Additional collaborators and artists
Nicola Griffiths, Di England, Simon Dormon, Stephen King
School liaison: Russ Ventham, Manuela Beste
Hospital liaison: Fiona Lynch, Jane Sylver

Photography by Stephen King

In collaboration with Evelina Hospital School and Artsadmin and funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ charity and the British Kidney Patient Association

A bit more about the participatory aspect of this project