Critical Care follows the three years Vic McEwan spent at Alder Hey Children's Hospital and was written by Clive Parkinson as a reflective account of his time as a participant observer during the Harmonic Oscillator project.
This essay flies in the face of many evaluations of arts and health which attempt to understand the impact of artists through bio-medical language and reductivism, and offers its readers instead, a more nuanced reflections on the value of the arts in contemporary health settings.
Providing a parallel narrative account of the artists unfolding work, Critical Care sheds light on the complexities of social arts practice, contextualising the role of contemporary artists who pursue a social agenda.
In an age of industrial scale medicine and mass privatisation of health services, Parkinson’s book offers us something wholly human in the centre of well-intentioned (and sometimes traumatic) health interventions. It is the story of an artist and a young patient, and an investigation of the possibilities of what artists with a social agenda can offer. “
At times both stark and uplifting, it moves this emerging arts and health agenda away from panaceas for all life’s ills, to the arts aas being an essential factor in our lives. Parkinson offers no solutions, but rather a deeper sense of community, and a richer narrative of the place of culture and the arts within a health context.”
Reviewed by Nick Shimmin in Daily Review. Full review HERE
You can purchase a copy of this limited edition publication here.