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Explore and Engage
Supported by the Public Health Agency through the Clear Project

The Renal Arts Group were awarded funding from the Public Health Agency through the Clear Project to programme a series of on-site and virtual visits to museums and galleries across Northern Ireland for the renal community. The visits took place between November 2021 and February 2022, and aimed to support the mental wellbeing of the renal community through engagement with the arts. Participants had the opportunity to explore a local museum or take part in an online tour, and we received fantastic feedback from the participants who took part in these sessions!

"The online events have sparked, reignited my passions and interests, rather than sitting at home watching daytime tv. it has really helped my wellbeing and mental health.

We visited the following museums:

  • Mid Antrim Museum, Ballymena, On-site Visit
  • Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, On-site Visit
  • F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge, Virtual Visit
  • Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum, Lisburn, Virtual Visit
  • Northern Ireland War Memorial, Belfast, Virtual Visit - Watch the presentation online!
ESRC Rapid Response for Covid Recovery
Online Arts-Based Interventions to Support Patients with ESKD

Dr Helen Noble and Anna Wilson have been awarded funding by the Economic and Social Research Council Rapid Response for COVID Recovery and Re-Imagining a Post-lockdown World Account, to develop a series of online arts-based activities that will build upon the work of RAG and provide mental health and wellbeing support for patients who face an extended, lonely period of self-isolation.

As we are unable to run in-person events and workshops due to the ongoing pandemic, the online activities will provide an introduction to a range of art forms that we hope patients will find engaging and enjoyable. The activities will be led by arts practitioners who have experience of working with patients who have kidney disease, or delivering arts activities within an arts and health setting.

This project was nominated for the Arts in Health International Foundation’s Arts Against Covid award.

Script Development Project
'The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards' by William Johnston

The group received funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to develop William Johnston’s script for ‘The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards’, working with award-winning playwright and producer Shannon Yee. Shannon will provide bespoke mentoring to William to develop the script, which will culminate in an innovative virtual performance with professional actors. The performance will become part of a larger body of patient-led work that will be taken to international conference to highlight the benefits of the arts for patients with kidney disease.

The project aims to raise awareness and educate audiences of the realities of living with chronic disease and the importance of organ donation, and to encourage patients with chronic illness, including kidney disease, to explore the arts as a beneficial component of their rehabilitation by engaging with the performance and providing feedback on their experience.

Watch 'The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards'

'The Starman, The Superhero and The Wizards' Cast

Mary Lindsay as Nurse Jayne 

Sarah Lyle as Grace 

Stephen Beggs as James Gibson 

Shaun Blaneyas Will 

Elaine Duncan as Joy 

Cathy Brennan-Bradley as Avril

Directed by Richard Lavery, Artistic Director, Accidental Theatre

Scriptwriting Workshops 

As part of this project we were able to offer a series of scriptwriting workshops, facilitated by Shannon, to all our group members, their families, carers and the wider renal community. The workshops offered the opportunity to develop script-writing and creative writing skills, and also opened up the conversation around organ donation, living with chronic illness, life on dialysis and post-transplant, and how engaging with the arts can be beneficial to the individual's journey.