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Photography : Alison Laredo Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Launch of 'The Room'
By Alison Laredo
20, Jun 2014 - 09:20

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In 2013, artist Tom Meskell and award-winning documentary maker Róisín Loughrey were awarded an inaugural bursary from, the national arts and health website managed by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT), to document through film an arts programme involving people who have an acquired brain injury, which is facilitated by Tom at Sacred Heart Hospital in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. The completed short documentary entitled The Room was launched in Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar on Monday, 12 May 2014.

The Room sets out to explore the small moments of magic that happen in the course of the arts programme; moments that allow for growth for both participants and the artist. Using a fly-on-the-wall approach, the film is a powerful and moving portrayal of the creative experience of long-stay hospital residents who have an acquired brain injury as a result of stroke, accident or conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s and reveals the profound impact of the arts programme on their lives.

Speaking at the launch Mary Grehan, Arts Director of WHAT said ‘Given the sensitivity of the healthcare context, unlike other arts practices, much arts and health work happens behind closed doors. With the aim of encouraging high-quality documentation of this very specialised field of work, WHAT via made this unique bursary available in 2013 through a competitive process. We are delighted with the result. ‘The Room’ illustrates a number of key principles of best arts and health practice and shows us how the artist encounters each and every participant, not as a person with a particular diagnosis, but as an artist with a creative voice.’

The Sacred Heart Arts Programme would not have been possible without the financial support of the wonderful charity - Friends of the Sacred Heart, who are the main funders of the programme for the last two years after funds from public bodies was no longer available

WHAT via is making a second bursary available in 2014 which is funded by the Arts Council and the Cork Arts and Health Programme, HSE South. The closing date is 30th May 2014.

To watch The Room and to find out information about the next bursary see

Mary Cotter, Director of Nursing Sacred Heart Hospital, Claire Meaney, WHAT and, Tom Meskell, artist, Mary Grehan, WHAT and, Róisín Loughrey, filmmaker, in Linenhall Arts Centre at the launch of the documentary film The Room about the arts programme at the Sacred Heart Hospital.

Back row - Regina Mulroney, Teresa Quigley, Kathleen Courell, Pauline Hestor, Mary Carney. Front row: Mary Cotter, Director of Nursing Sacred Heart Hospital, Claire Meaney, WHAT and, Tom Meskell, artist, Mary Grehan, WHAT and, Róisín Loughrey, filmmaker in Linenhall Arts Centre at the launch of the documentary film The Room about the arts programme at the Sacred Heart Hospital.

Tom Meskell, artist, Róisín Loughrey, filmmaker and Andrea Northover in Linenhall Arts Centre at the launch of the documentary film The Room about the arts programme at the Sacred Heart Hospital.

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