A project responding to people in waiting situations

the story of waiting

News: The waiting project has now moved onto phase II, see here for details.

This is a Chaturangan initiative in response to Liverpool Culture Company's “Story of Waiting” strand in their “Creative Health” programme.

The “Story of Waiting” programme is a partnership between Liverpool Culture Company, Liverpool Primary Care NHS Trust, Mersey Care NHS Trust and other Health Partners. It is being delivered by Chaturangan, The Comedy Trust and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). As a part of this project Chaturangan is taking multicultural participatory activities including dance music ,visual arts and storytelling to various health settings where people experience different types of stress from waiting . So far the company has taken this work to Royal Liverpool Hospital, Woodlands Hospice in Fazakerley hospital, Creative Alternative ,Southport and children’s Hospice Claire House. As part of this project, the company has also produced a film suitable for screening in‘Waiting Areas’, places in healthcare settings where people are required to wait for services. The film from the project ‘PRECIOUS ‘ made by Gina Czarnecki was installed in two sites in the Royal Liverpool Hospital .
The other recent activities include developing a children’s production Different tune about social cohesion and Self Esteem .This will be touring in 2009 .
The company has delivered a very successful dance and fitness project for the parents of Everton children centre.
Chaturangan has developed a strong reputation for devising and delivering participatory multi-cultural arts and creative work with an arts and health focus and has become one of
the leaders in this field working across Merseyside.

when time does not fly

From birth to death we experience different levels of intensity and awareness about our engagement with time, subjecting ourselves to being washed in waves of emotions high, low and even paced.

Most of the time we do not take notice of this passage of time - the eternal time. Mostly our perception of “time” is only what the clock tells us, as it transports us from one task to another.

An instance when everything suddenly stops, and we face a forced and imposed situation of marking time - minute by minute, second by second - is when this time is related to health issues. Time looms large and hangs heavy in the waiting rooms of Doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, recovery rooms and labour wards, and its effects can be felt even in the intimate privacy of the homes of individuals waiting for news or a phone call. Good or bad, the actual news of the condition of health is something one can deal with in a comparatively more dignified and positive way. It is waiting time that is filled with uncertainty, fear, impatience, irritation and depression. Waiting, in some ways, takes away our control and along with that a motivation. We put life on hold and we are scared to hope. The mind is left without an anchor.

Art offers dreams and sends an invitation to alternative possibilities. Art gives permission to enter a world of imagination, where we can feel “being in control”. Art sets a different agenda, a different sense of time, a different take on permanence. It may not alter the situation although it could install in one a sense of satisfaction/achievement, maybe in a very small measure, but enough to change an attitude and give courage.

What art proposes to offer is not necessarily a definite answer, but a ‘leap of faith’ with a genuine desire to make a difference.

Outline of the project

The project addressed artistic intervention, real and virtual, in stressful waiting situations in health settings. The project is in two strands.

  • Participatory sessions in waiting rooms.
  • A film to be shown in waiting rooms.

Participatory sessions
At most venues one cannot get a captive audience; people are coming and going as necessary.  These sessions were artistically extremely challenging. It is hard to walk into a situation of such real stress and engage people in dance, music or other visual arts and crafts. However, if the initial barriers can be overcome the actual delivery follows quite naturally. One constantly had to balance the artistic aspiration and the purpose of the sessions. One had to devise activities that are not long and can be dipped in and out. One can then see smiling faces and hear sounds of laughter from these otherwise tense waiting rooms.

The film
The film has been devised by Gina Czarnecki, suitable for screening in waiting areas. Responding to the interactive nature of the participatory sessions, ....

Current status

Participatory sessions
So far we have delivered six participatory sessions and have plans for three more. For more details of those already delivered click here.

The film Precious
The film was screened at the United Kingdom Public Health Association Conference at Liverpool Arena in April 2008. People from the health and artistic sectors have been invited to a viewing of the film and to participate in a discussion about the film, the experience of watching the film and where the film might best be shown and seen. The film is interactive in the sense that the viewers in the waiting rooms will be able to input their thoughts, and the film will be updated regularly in response to these. A final version will be screened at the Art of Living Conference in Liverpool in December 2008.

Waiting Phase II
Following the success of the initial project, additional funding has been secured to expand the work in the neighbouring boroughs of Wirral and Sefton. In this phase we are also extending the project to include groups with issues of mental health. Workshop 1 was developed with the help of "Creative Alternatives", for a fuller description see the Artistic Director's reports and a report from an independent observer.


See a report of part of the "Precious" project here.


See comments from users and Simon.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

By TS Eliot - The Four Quartets



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Photo by Simon ....

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Page last updated 16-Jan-2012 - Comments on the website welcome by Eric Foxley at the Dunkirk Arts Centre
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