Staring at the Ceiling, Looking at the Stars

‘Staring at the Ceiling, Looking at the Stars’
Art Inspired by Stirling District Asylum
Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s Atrium from 7 August to 1 January, 2016
 blotter composite FINAL copy
By the assistance of letters the memory of past things is preserved, Digital print, 2015


New artwork co-created by artist Sharon Quigley, inspired by patients of over a century ago, goes on display from 7 August at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
Sound and printed artworks have been produced in collaboration with a group of patients and staff at the now-named Bellsdyke Hospital, charting and re-telling the stories of some of the people admitted to the asylum and re-exploring the asylum’s surroundings.
Together they have delved behind the case notes, patients’ letters and admission books to explore the identities of Asylum patients from 1906-14, to create a new ‘archive’ in which the patient’s voice is properly heard and their own experience is valued in the way we would hope and expect today.
‘The history of psychiatry used to be told from the perspective of clinicians and asylum managers. Nowadays social historians are increasingly recognising that we also need to attend to the voice of the patient in order to obtain a fuller and more balanced picture of psychiatry’s past.
This project by the artist Sharon Quigley in collaboration with staff and patients of Bellsdyke Hospital represents an innovative and original project which shines a light on the patient world. Using a range of archival records it demonstrates how an artistic perspective can bring new insights into understanding the patient world. It also shows how one can engage with historical documents in novel, imaginative ways which bring the experience of patients in the Stirling District Asylum a hundred years ago to life.’
Dr Allan Beveridge, Consultant Psychiatrist


In partnership with the University of Stirling, which houses NHS Forth Valley’s archive, this project was produced by Artlink Central, the participatory arts organisation supported by NHS Forth Valley’s Endowment Committee to involve patients in high quality creative art and design activity.

With thanks to sound artist Robert Baldock,  designer James MacKay and Dr Allan Beveridge  of  NHS  Fife  for  their  advice  and  support  in  the  making  of  this exhibition.

discharged_331_3Admission and discharge photography, Stirling District Asylum, 1906 – 1910

The exhibition tours to Art Collection in the University of Stirling’s Pathfoot Building from 23 January to 27 May, 2016.