Trellis: Arbor is a knowledge-exchange programme for staff and researchers of the Queen Square Institute of Neurology and artists and communities
The Arbor programme has been created to foster an interdisciplinary approach to creative research, and to create a physical and intellectual space for the development of meaningful artistic and academic collaborations.
Artists, researchers and teams from our partners at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UK Dementia Research Institute and UCLH National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery are paired together to spark new and interesting collaborations.
During the programme, they form a working relationship in which they share information and research; gain an insight into each other’s worlds and collaborate to co-create a piece of work which explores a topic of mutual interest and the artist’s practice. The final manifestation could be anything – from something that is displayed at one of the programme’s spaces – at Grays Inn Road or Queen Square, to a temporary work, performance work, digital, sound, text or a physical event.
Arbor is part of UCL's Trellis programme which creates opportunities for collaboration between artists, researchers and communities, pioneered on our new UCL East campus.
After an open call, a diverse group of 30 artists and researchers took part in an evening ‘mixer’ event at the visitor centre on site at 256 Grays Inn Road to come together to find shared interests, connections and intersections. In January 2023, 12 partnerships were invited to further their collaboration and apply for funding for a creative commission.
In April 2023, six partnerships were chosen to received a further £12,000 to fund a final work to be delivered in 2024. More details on their proposals are below:
Dr Natalie Ryan and Briony Campbell
Walking in your Footsteps is a collaborative project involving neurologist Natalie Ryan, artist Briony Campbell and members of the Rare Dementia Support Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD) support group, developing creative workshops where people can connect and share their stories, whilst exploring experiences of living in a family affected by FAD and meaningful milestones in the FAD journey.
Dr Kirsty Lu and Maria Teresa Ortoleva
Exploring the phenomenon of memory and how the continuum between remembrance and forgetfulness is perceived, represented, and understood by means of drawing, the project takes a compassionate look at the lived experience and fear of memory loss, such as at the onset of dementia and other degenerative neurological conditions, while also celebrating and widening participation in research, from acknowledging generous lifelong contributions to engaging underrepresented and disadvantaged groups in public workshops.
Dr Jennifer Foley and Alison Carlier
This collaboration explores the unheard voices and experiences of young people affected by Parkinson’s, including how the disease affects them, their bodies, their minds, their lives, and their mental health. Reflecting and combining stories, sounds of rhythmical motor symptoms with ambient sound and original music, the ambition is to build a textured soundscape of what it feels like to live with Parkinson’s, offering a glimmer of insight into this community’s day-to-day experience.
Tatiana Alvarez Giovannucci, Maria del Mar Estarellas Garcia and Lucy Steggals
Ebb and Flow aims to foster a collaborative exchange of knowledge between artists, researchers, and carers of individuals with dementia to explores the complexities of uncertainty three different contexts. Using the sea as a metaphor, participants will be invited to record their experiences, providing a unique and engaging way for individuals to connect with each other and share their experiences in a meaningful and impactful way.
Louie Lee and Caroline Wright
How to Swim on Land explores the unique relationship that people living with neuromuscular diseases have with water. As being in water can enable a freedom of movement that is not always possible on land, the project will look at differences in movement in, and out of water through a series of creative workshops, including a group swim. It will also investigate whether being in water could be used to assist in problem solving, innovation and different ways of thinking about the world. As well as co-creating an artwork, the workshops will also be an opportunity for people to meet others facing similar challenges, but with differing life experiences.
Lynn Dennison and Dr Tom Miller
In Search of Lost Time looks at memory loss, with an aim to give patients with LG11-limbic encephalitis the voice to describe and capture the first-person experiences of amnesia using story-telling, moving image, audio and photography. Memory is such a critical cognitive process, helping people to signpost their lives and understand their place within social and family structures that it can be debilitating to lose these memories and become dislocated from those narrative strands. As memory loss can sometimes be misunderstood by clinicians, friends, and family, the project hopes to facilitate a greater understanding of memory loss and its societal impact through this research and artwork.
If you're interested in finding out more, get in touch with Sam Wilkinson, UCL Public Art.
Watch a video on Trellis at UCL East and see how we matched artists and UCL staff to create a series of innovative partnerships, creating a rich and diverse programme of creative projects exploring a range of ideas, including exploring how we reconnect with each other through sound, touch and vision post-lockdown; telling people's personal stories of their cancer journey through wearable art and how to use creative technology to empower disadvantaged communities in a socially-isolated world.
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