Siblings light the way at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice

Categories: Community Engagement.

The exhibition is part of the Start Hospices project created by HRH The Prince of Wales’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts.

The Start Hospices project is aimed at children and young people with progressive life-limiting illnesses and their families, and is intended to give participants the chance to have fun together as a family away from the demands of their daily lives and to experience high quality arts activities, which they may not usually have access to.

Noah’s Ark siblings groups have been working with artsdepot – a leading cultural hub in north London – to create two visual arts projects.

‘My World’

Twelve siblings aged 11-18 worked with artsdepot photographer, Miriam Baez, to explore the theme ‘My World’.

They started by using torches in a darkened room to create light photographs, and then went on a treasure hunt around artsdepot taking lots of different types of photographs (including still life and portraits). These photographs were then developed and each sibling used them to create their own world in a lantern using a variety of materials.

A young sibling group (aged 4-10) worked with artsdepot artist Katerina Fotopoulos to create a light box especially for the new Noah’s Ark facility.

Each sibling was given a letter ‘N’ and a letter ‘A’ (representing Noah’s Ark) made out of coloured vinyl. These letters were then decorated in a variety of ways including collaging, using a spirograph and ‘scratching’ on designs.

Once all the letters were completed, they were carefully cut out and arranged onto a large board, which was eventually mounted onto the light box.


Feedback from the siblings involved has been positive:

“I enjoyed learning about old cameras and photography in general.”

“I enjoyed making stories into photography.”

“The workshop made me feel creative as I used my imagination to create lots of pieces of art.”

“It was new to me and it was interesting to use different materials to make a design.”

These pieces of artwork are now on public display at artsdepot in Barnet, north London and will go on to be displayed in Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice’s brand new purpose built building that is currently in development.

‘A rare respite’

Jeremy Newton, chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts, believes there is a growing need for such a programme among families attending children’s hospices:

“The time devoted to symptom control, care and support for a serious illness very often means that children, siblings and parents miss out on the enjoyment of shared, everyday family activities and experiences that most of us take for granted.

“Our Start programme provides families coping with this most difficult time a rare respite from the illness, allowing them to spend valuable time together in a new relaxed but adapted and supported setting enjoying arts activities and experiences that will stay with them forever.”

artsdepot was one of the first local arts venues to be selected by Children & the Arts to be a partner for its Start Hospices pilot project in 2011/12.

Having successfully completed the pilot, artsdepot and the Noah’s Ark Hospice are now in the first year of the main Start programme. The project has seen families from the hospice come together at artsdepot to share days filled with performances and workshops.

Inspired by the arts 

Children & the Arts believes that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by the arts, and provides UK-wide arts engagement programmes encouraging active participation with the arts amongst children who for a variety of reasons would otherwise miss out on such opportunities.

Commenting on the project, Vicky Bell, Participation Manager at artsdepot, said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome Noah’s Ark families to artsdepot. Many had never visited artsdepot before and were surprised to find the range of family activities on offer.

“It is always rewarding to see families creating happy shared memories and this programme highlights the importance of this. It has been particularly inspiring to see the sibling groups working with our artists to create artwork that will go on to have a genuine legacy in Noah’s Ark’s new building; helping to make it a more friendly and colourful place for the families who will receive support there.”

Other arts venues taking part in the Start Hospices project are:

  • DanceEast (Ipswich) working with East Anglia Children’s Hospices – Treehouse (EACH)
  • Seven Stories (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) working with St Oswald’s Hospice
  • Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge) working with East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices – Milton (EACH)
  • Northern Ballet (Leeds) working with Martin House Hospice.
  • Clwyd Theatre (Mold) working with Hope House/Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice.

You can see a gallery with more images of the sibling’s artwork here on ehospice

To find out more about Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice you can visit their website, or if you would like view the artsdepot exhibition and want to find out more information about their work, visit their website.

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