I walked past your exhibition every day. It made me smile. I liked the simple things - the personal moments - like the picture of the hug and the mother watching her daughter go off to school. It's just so human. You feel you are in their personal moments. Keep doing it. It's really special.
Diane (Specialist Nurse)
Sharing moments of happiness across the Addenbrooke's community
Hospitals are busy and sometimes overwhelming places. The Addenbrooke’s Hospital site is like a small town in itself, with over 40,000 people moving around the spaces everyday. CCI’s project Taking Note is exploring how stories might connect individuals across this community – the patients, staff, researchers, visitors, volunteers and many others who spend time there every day. These stories are all about happiness, however fleeting or seemingly insubstantial. They are about the individual moments that are recorded if we find a way to stop and take notice. They are about individual moments that can be recorded if we find a way to stop and take notice.
Being part of Taking Note has made me realise it is good to share one's experiences. I've received so many positive comments from people who have seen the exhibition. It was lovely to be able to share my story with you. I hope people can understand that being in hospital doesn't have to be a negative experience. I was thrilled to see my story as part of the exhibition and so was my husband. The project should continue. I think it will encourage patients to be more positive . Taking Note helps people to think outside the box.
You can read some of the stories collected to date and shared via the project Facebook page since we began here:
Artists Susanne Jasilek and Filipa Pereira-Stubbs worked on the project alongside CCI's Director Ruth Sapsed. Illustrator Josie Birch made a wonderful contribution to the exhibition with her wording whilst artist Patsy Rathbone created the cloth of pockets specially for the project.
The project officially launched on Sunday 20th March, 2016, adding its voice to the United Nations International Day of Happiness - a day formalised in 2011, when all 193 United Nations member states passed a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.
The project is ongoing and people are invited to take part by:
- Finding the project facebook page and contributing to the conversation
- Emailing a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Addenbrooke’s Arts, PO Box 146, Cambridge University Hospitals, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ
There were also 3 pop-up events and two exhibitions of stories during 2016. Cambridge News wrote about the project here and Cambridge TV featured it in their news programe on Thursday 12 May. Diary posts below share some of the special moments in the project to date. CCI is currently working with colleagues to identify how to sustain the project.
Taking Note was inspired by the recent personal experiences of Ruth Sapsed (CCI’s Director):
I’ve had a close relationship with the hospital since 2011 when I had to have emergency neurosurgery. It had to be repeated in April 2015 and I wanted to find a way to distract and comfort both myself but also family and friends as I approached the planned date. As a documenter of many of CCI’s projects, I’m used to listening out for the unexpected and surprising observations people make and it was fascinating to turn this process on myself.
I invited a group of us to create a 'Wall of Happiness' on Facebook where we shared any small positive moments we noticed in our day. People loved it. They offered all sorts - stories of delicious tastes, smells, a tree they passed as they walked to work, an old alarm clock that sits on their desk and keeps good time. One friend has since created an award winning film about happiness inspired by one of the posts. Doing this together was really joyous.
It is a huge pleasure to reimagine the Wall of Happiness as a project for the Addenbrooke’s community.
This image comes from my first stay at Addenbrooke's in 2012. I had returned to my bed to discover it freshly made by one of the staff and with my daughter’s bear (bought in by her comfort me) settled in and enjoying the computer. It made me smile and the other ladies on the ward too, but also, I like to think, whoever set it up.
Like all arts activities at Cambridge University Hospitals, this project is not funded by the NHS but is designed to support and enhance the care and experience of patients, visitors and staff to the hospital.