Sensing spaces of healthcare: Creative research methods and sensory memory

9:30, Thursday 6 May 2021 (1 hour)

This paper will present the early stages of my ‘Future Leaders Fellowship’ on the sensory environment of the post-1948 British hospital (past, present, future). This project began in January 2020 with a collaborative planning stage, which will lead to research at Southmead Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in summer 2021. At the time of the conference we will have developed methodologies for eliciting sensory experiences and memories of patients, staff and visitors. The paper will outline our team’s planned research methodology, and will focus particularly on the question of sensory memory and the potential value of creative research methods for enhancing more traditional oral history approaches. Although the research itself has not yet been undertaken, it is hoped that this paper’s ‘work-in-progress’ approach will prompt reflection and discussion about health, senses, spaces and research methods. The paper will critically evaluate the meaning of sensory ‘experience’ of space/place, how it relates to sensory memory, and what role creative and arts-based approaches might have in enhancing our understandings of both.

University of Bristol