The Vital Signs conference took place on 15 October in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin. Over 150 delegates attended the event, which was chaired by Vincent Woods, poet, playwright and RTÉ Radio broadcaster.

Vincent Woods in conversation with Michelle Browne

The conference explored the areas of arts participation, architecture, medical humanities and the Percent for Art Scheme. Speakers and delegates also discussed the opportunities and challenges for artists working in healthcare settings, the value of arts and health practice, and the needs of the sector moving forward.

A summary of the conference, speakers papers and podcasts are available in this section of the website. Willie White, Director of the Project Arts Centre also reported from the conference using Twitter. The Vital Signs Twitter stream can be accessed at

Drawing by visual artist, Laura Fitzgerald, in response to the conference

Laura Fitzgerald was artist-in-residence at the Vital Signs conference. Laura reinterpreted an aspect of her work that she developed while working as artist-in-residence with Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) in 2009. As part of her work with WHAT Laura collected over 160 individual memories from Waterford Regional Hospital patients, visitors and staff. This involved meeting each person and drawing a vivid memory from that person’s life while they spoke. At the conference, Laura created a visual catalogue of the day, inviting conference delegates to meet with her and share a memory connected with their experience of working in an arts and health environment.

drawing by Architect Gerry Cahill in response to the conferenceTo the left is a drawing by conference speaker and architect, Gerry Cahill, which was made ‘in response to the energy and debate of the afternoon, I wanted to try and capture key opinions, sentiments and reactions in the room.’

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