A new exhibition has opened, telling the story of Hellesdon Hospital and mental health through a collection of historic artefacts.
‘Hellesdon Hospital and the Art of Recovery’ is part of the Being Human series of events (add link to being human festival in Nic’s email) and is running at the former Open building at 20 Bank Plain in Norwich from 11-18 November, 10am-4pm (last entry 3.30pm)
The collaboration between NSFT and Norwich University of the Arts is an eclectic collection of objects including historical photos and documents and equipment which, in the words of one service user, invites you to get “curious about the story” of Hellesdon Hospital.
The exhibition, which also includes workshops, has been created by staff and experts by experience. The aim is for those with experience of mental health services, their families and carers and staff to contribute to the legacy of the hospital through their own stories.
Items displayed have come from old wards, the former staff social club, which closed more than 30 years ago, and the cellars, or have been loaned as part of the hospital archives.
Admin and support staff are currently in the process to moving to new offices at County Hall from the 150-year-old Victorian main building. Service users and clinicians will transition from some of our current wards into the purpose-built Rivers Centre at Hellesdon from autumn 2024.
NUA curator Nicola Simpson said: “There are two stopped clocks in the exhibition, borrowed from the hospital archives. In a workshop with the artist Dolly Sen last week, service-users were encouraged to think about how ‘time’ felt to them when they were an inpatient. Through the creativity activity of painting their own working clock, complex, imaginative and moving accounts of ‘time’ were captured. There is a very different kind of storytelling that happens when individuals engage with memory and experience through art.”
NSFT curator Dr Sophie Bagge said: “This is such a special art exhibition. I have been humbled in meeting so many people whilst collecting all the artefacts, they were intrigued by what we were doing, each person whether they had been here two months or twenty years spoke of their memories, their stories of Hellesdon Hospital. This exhibition extends that further in enabling all people in our communities to come and reflect on the history of Hellesdon and mental health. Each piece in the exhibition draws you in and raises questions, and the workshops with people who use services and their carers have created a place to share experiences and explore possibilities through art and creativity. ”
There are still places left for workshops, which are open only to service-users, carers and families and NSFT staff.
On Saturday (18 November), 2-4pm with artist Jade Marie Anderson for current/former employees of mental health clinical spaces in Norfolk and Suffolk. Book here.
Read more about the exhibition and workshops: https://www.beinghumanfestival.org/events/recovering-stories-hellesdon-hospital