Principal project partners:

PMP Plus

NHS HighlandNHS Highland


Project funding:

Highland 2007Arts and Business



It became clear in the early stages of the project that opinions and perceptions about public art were changing for many of those involved - here's some of the feedback we've received about the impact of the public art in Fort William Health Centre:

"I have a patient who has had a recurrence of difficult depression, who I know well. She had been sitting in the new waiting room and volunteered that she felt in the dark part of the painting and was struggling to get to the light area in the painting - an amazing, spontaneous metaphor which has helped us both in our understanding. We made a conscious decision to have a calm waiting area, lit with natural light and enhanced by paintings and stained glass. We have no health promotion posters, telling people not to smoke or drink! Indeed, one of the paintings has a ceildih scene with musicians and cans of beer on the table. I believe this metaphor tells the waiting patients that music and sensible use of alcohol are part of our community identity, and that we are non-judgemental. It becomes safe to admit to the doctor that you go to enjoy yourself at a ceilidh in the Highlands, and can seek help if you need it. This point is counter-intuitive in current health promotion thinking, but worth developing in tackling our big issues, including sensible use of alcohol. I am beginning to think that the artwork project was more than a luxury item, but an essential part of the way we communicate with individual patients and the community we serve"
Dr. Jim Douglas, Tweeddale Medical Practice

"The aim of the Ceramic Sea Creature Trail was to enable children to touch and feel the textures of the creatures and follow the trail through the Community wing of the Medical centre. The most rewarding aspect of the project was on the installation day, watching a little girl come in and literally 2 minutes after I had put a piece on the wall, touching the piece with curiosity and delight"
Helen Michie, Artist

"The art brings a sense of place, community, and belonging to the building. Patientsí experience of using the facility is materially enhanced; staff experience of working in the facility is materially enhanced. As a business it creates a high quality reference project for prospective clients. It has been a very useful learning process for us"
John Dryburgh, PMP Plus, Building Developer

"There is an atmosphere of calm and peace within the main waiting areas. Patients actively enjoy the areas and seem to be more relaxed when they finally see the health professional. The outreach part of the project was a very good idea and has given local school children and students a sense of ownership of the building. As a practice we have continued with this theme and have a display of work from the High School on our surgery corridor walls. One of our GPs is to attend a conference on Art and Health and we hope to have a photo of the school work with the artists as part of his presentation"


What you think

The views and experiences of those involved in the project were gathered through an online survey, the full results of which can be viewed here:

Health Centre users have also been given the chance to comment on the artwork within the building, and a selection of their responses can be viewed here:
(Link to be added)

If you would like to tell us your views of the artwork in the Health Centre, please get in touch using the Contacts page.


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