The pioneering art display helping patients' families come to terms with heart disease at GOSH

Artist in residence Sofie Layton worked with GOSH’s arts programme GO Create! over 12 months to produce the work

Jamie Merrill
Wednesday 10 February 2016 23:02

Great Ormond Street Hospital’s artist in residence has unveiled a pioneering new display of works designed to help families come to terms with congenital heart disease.

Under the Microscope, which is unveiled today, was the brainchild of Sofie Layton, who worked with GOSH’s arts programme GO Create! over 12 months to produce the work, which includes an audio soundscape narrated by a patient and his Mum, embroidered and 3D printed hearts and a collection of stunning screen prints.

Ms Layton, who was previously artist in residence with Historic Royal Palaces, has spent a year at the hospital and held workshops to involve patients in the process of making the 3D hearts and screen prints. “It has been such a privilege to work here at Great Ormond Street Hospital and getting such fantastic access to the doctors and nurses, as well as patients and their families,” she said.

Produced in conjunction with GO Create! and GOSH’s research arm, the UCL Institute of Child Health, her work is now displayed in the hospital’s main reception and in The Gallery, a space which links the hospital and the UCL Institute of Child Health.

Ms Layton held workshops with cardiac patients and their families during the project and hopes that the work, which explores childhood understanding of heart disease, could “become a learning tool” for young patients.

The work has been unveiled in the final week of The Independent’s record-breaking Give To GOSH appeal, which has raised more than £3m for the hospital with donations still coming in. Several patients and their families who The Independent has followed during the appeal have contributed to the artwork, including heart patient Marley Scott and his mother Joanna, and Candace Livingstone, the mother of two-year-old Elliott, who desperately needs a new heart.

Joanna and Marley narrate a soundscape to accompany the artworks, while Candace inspired Ms Layton’s embroideries of hearts.

Ms Layton described the process of contributing to the work as “incredibly therapeutic” for patients and their families, explaining that in Candace’s case she had to carry out much of the work herself as Candace was busy caring for Elliott. The embroidery represents a heart with a Berlin Heart attached and one with a cardiomyopathy, such as the one Elliott suffers from.

Speaking earlier this week at a patient party to celebrate the success of the Give to GOSH appeal, Candace said working with GOSH’s artist teams, including Ms Layton, was another example of “all the extra help” the hospital’s charitable arm provides.

The Independent’s appeal will help fund a specialist 14-bed heart unit at GOSH to help patients like Marley and Elliott in the future. Candace said: “We are proud that Elliott has been part of the campaign. The money that has been raised is wonderful, but for us there is also another positive to come out of it. It’s been something for us to focus on and to feel like we are giving something back for the wonderful care we have had so far.”

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