April 2014 - October 2015 Reconstructing Ourselves was an Arts Council Wales funded project exploring the stories, lives and experiences of breast reconstruction patients and staff at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, UK.
As part of this Artist in Residency Prue Thimbleby see website Rhian Solomon see website and Sarah Wright – a duo of Artists and a clinical Anthropologist – worked with clinicians and patients from Morriston Hospital – listening, talking, interpreting and recreating the detailed dialogues and narratives of the people that they met.
Sarah Wright led a research strand to the project – asking the question; ‘Does giving patients the chance to record what they want to say to the consultant and playing this at the start of the consultation improve the outcome?’
Rhian Solomon led art workshops with the patients, facilitating creative works in response to their experiences. She worked with Julianna Sissons, a couture pattern cutter, to run a workshop with plastic surgeons exploring the similarities and differences between cutting and shaping cloth and cutting and shaping skin. Following the workshop Rhian and Julianna created the textile model (see picture) which is now used in the breast reconstruction clinic to demonstrate different options for surgery.
Prue Thimbleby involved photography students from theUniversity of Wales Trinty St David and created eight patient story videos. See examples below.
The project culminated in a very successful symposium and exhibition which showed the results of the research, a new collection of work by Rhian Solomon and the digital stories told by participants involved in the project. The exhibition opened at the hospital and then moved to the Dynevor gallery at the University.
Since the project finished the video called 'Fashion Surgery' (see below) made by Rhian Solomon and Belinda Cotton from the ABMU medical illustration team has won the John Corney award for best non-clinical video at the UK Medical Illustration Conference.