Close up of brushes in the art room at the hospice

Our Blog

Working with our artist in residence

By Stevan Stratford - Artist in Residence at St Barnabas House

In this blog:


Art and creativity mean different things to different people. They take many different forms – from drawings, paintings, and photography, to designs on packaging, songs on the radio, dishes you cook for dinner, and the way you plant your garden. Art is all around us and affects our lives in so many ways.

Art and hospice care

Art is an extremely important part of hospice care. It can be an excellent way to express emotions without words, process complex feelings and find relief in difficult times. At St Barnabas House we have a dedicated art room, which is run by our artist-in-residence Stevan. It is a space loved by many, where patients and families have a supported creative outlet.

The range of creative possibilities are endless, and we work with individuals to find what best works for you. No prior knowledge or skills are required, just a wish to explore ideas creatively.

Explore your creativity

Art is all about enjoying something and having a sense of ‘yes I can’, not ‘I can’t’. It can be very empowering. The art room is all about giving you time and skills when you might feel like everything else is taken away from you.

Even if you have no idea what you might want to create, we can work with you to find out what makes you, ‘you’, and from there, we can explore some creative possibilities together.

Find your voice

Everyone has something to say. We all think about the world we live in and those around us, and we all have stories to tell, so our own thoughts and experiences can often be the basis for some wonderful artworks and creativity. Art can help us make meaning from our lives and our artist can help you explore creative possibilities through both traditional and non-traditional mediums, and perhaps even introduce you to some new ones you have never thought of.

Image of our artist-in residence in front of some artwork

How art can help someone in palliative care

Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is an incredibly difficult time in your life, and you may find yourself at a loss with what to do. By getting involved with this aspect of our service you will have the opportunity to express yourself in a different way and learn new skills (or revisit old ones!) and this can be a great diversion from everything else going on around you.

  • Meet people in a similar situation

Some people find that becoming part of a group to explore ideas together works for them, so we have a number of groups. Currently, we offer two weekly patient art groups, one online and one face to face group in our art room. We also offer a fortnightly bereavement art group. These groups can allow you to meet others going through a similar situation, tell their story and build friendships. Our face-to-face groups are limited in number and are subject to change due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. *

  • Make something unique

You may decide to create artwork in your sessions, which can be precious, physical keepsakes that you gift to a loved one after you die, or you may wish to create and have time purely for your own pleasure and learning, either way it is your choice.

  • Is art for me?

It’s okay to feel apprehensive about getting involved in this side of our service and you may not know what sort of project you would like to work on, but we are here to help you find your way through this journey. Whatever you choose to do, we will support you along the way.

*All information correct at time of publishing. Published January 2022

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