Trials of Engagement – Solo Exhibition July 2016

By Sarah Bates

My first solo exhibition was an innovative research study. It focused on the developing interdisciplinary, zeitgeist movement that brings together a unique collaboration between creativity and healthcare. It was the last project in my Master Degree in Creative Practice at Leeds College of Art. The course widened my practice, extended the breadth of engagement and was the most challenging 2 years of my life; emotionally and physically.

The Project

I worked with Leeds Hospital NHS Trust, Clinical Research Facility and the Cancer Research UK Leeds Centre, and using their data as a storytelling mechanism. This exhibition is designed to raise awareness of clinical research through the production of aesthetically pleasing, visual responses with the potential to be displayed in a research setting. The aim is to engage, enlighten and inform people involved in clinical research through originality and uniqueness – a refreshing approach that breaks away from the usual staid vapidity.

Through my work and research words (verbal communication) became fundamental and integral to this project through the dialogue between patient and clinician. This collaboration of research, healthcare and creativity resulted in an exhibition at Leeds College of Art. This short film is a summary of the course and my practice.

I donated the exhibition panels to Leeds Hospital NHS Trust and were installed in their new Innovation and Research Centre’s boardroom at the hospital June 2017. This is a perfect setting to generate discussion, raise awareness and connect healthcare and creativity together. The feedback to the installations was immense and overwhelmingly positive which makes me feel very proud to have embarked on this journey with Debbie Bernie and her team. I hope the installations in their permanent home will continue to create a unique opportunity to develop a narrative for the future.



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A World Without Words – International Exhibition

By Sarah Bates


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International Exhibition

My 2nd international exhibition was the visual exploration and response to the city of Tronto, Italy was through a super macro lens. I used self generated data whilst investigating graphicacy (which is the ability to communicate visually) and is considered as important as literacy and numeracy and the ability to read and count.

I was inspired by this quote:

"The world around us is chaotic. In order to live in that world, we must find ways to grasp it, establish some sort of order in it. We are not alone in that endeavor. Others face the same problem. And we can make contact with those others. That contact helps us talk about the world, order things, bring order onto the chaos. We do that by naming things, so that others know what we are talking about. We do that through signs. The most familiar and complex system of signs is language. Human communities are impossible without some form of language. Language is the most highly developed sign-system, a sign-system which allows the conveyance of the most complex observations, views, thoughts." (Ball, 1994)

Visual communication as we know it today

Is the process of sending and receiving messages using images and signs, and yet it is not dissimilar to the earliest forms of communicating 6000 years ago were developed. These first symbols used in their primitive forms were called pictograms which covered cave walls and depicted early the activities of early civilization. They could be used to represent an object; fish, rain, woman etc. and remarkably pictograms are still used in our society today, as there is an ever growing need to overcome language barriers, symbols (pictograms) which can be internationally recognised are now in demand more than ever before. Examples such as men and women’s toilets, navigation systems in airports and travel systems on our roads etc. Our need to immediately recognise and navigate these systems as we go about our lives, not only enhances our lives but it makes ‘it’ more efficient.

I was particularly inspired by the Futurist archive museum where I had the privilege of viewing and handling the journals, works, designs of Depero which was truly amazing to see these things in real life and a recent book binding course.

We see so many things in our lives but don't actually see the detail and so a super macro lens is really an analogy for the media bombarded lives we live in today.







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