by Alice Wright
In an original response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, founded in 1932 by Lady Barber, is set to become the first ever museum with its own ‘Nurse in Residence’.
In a creative twist on the familiar concept of the artist-in-residence the Barber Institute will welcome Jane Nicol, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Nursing and a registered nurse who has specialised in palliative and end of life care.
With the £40,000 received from the Art Fund’s Respond & Reimagine scheme, the Barber will work with Nicol for twelve months as part of the new initiative, Barber Health. Nicol explains that she will be looking at the Barber’s collection through her unique experience in healthcare “to rethink the role the arts have in the education of our future healthcare professionals and in promoting the sustainable health and wellbeing of our wider community.
This ambitious project has four interconnecting strands: a Nurse in Residence, Death and Dying Community Conversations, Care Home Outreach and a Social Prescribing pilot. Students from the University of Birmingham’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences will contribute through volunteering and placements.
“We felt we had a responsibility [to] use our collection and our engagement programme to address some of the big issues Covid has created. The Art Fund have given us a unique opportunity to address these questions in real time over the next year” said Jen Ridding, the Barber’s Head of Public Engagement.