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Exhibitions showcase Graylingwell heritage

Graylingwell History Project

THE fascinating story of Chichester’s Graylingwell Hospital is told through a series of three major exhibitions taking place in March and April.

The exhibitions are the culmination of the Graylingwell Heritage Project, a community-based heritage and arts programme which has, over the past year, been exploring the rich social and cultural history of the Hospital.

The three exhibitions, at the University’s Otter Gallery, Pallant House Gallery, and the West Sussex Record Office, unearth historical documentation and artefacts from its origins as the West Sussex County Asylum from its opening in 1897 to its closure as a mental health facility in 2001.

They also reveal contemporary artistic and oral responses from local artists working with former hospital staff, patients, and community members to explore the broader human perspective on life at the hospital. The exhibitions include:

The Graylingwell Heritage Project, Otter Gallery, University of Chichester, open now until Sunday 19 April.

A free exhibition that provides a snapshot of the collective memories, conversations, and research documentation undertaken by the project partners and wider community.

Selected key objects and images of the people and history of the hospital are juxtaposed with new artwork that brings together a mass of imagery made by Pallant House Gallery’s Creative Team, led by local artist Rachel Johnston, with staff, patients and community members.

Combining historical material with contemporary reflections around mental health difficulties and treatments, the show unearths the complexity of human experiences in the hospital’s history, presenting it through new interpretive art practice.

Graylingwell History Project

Therapeutic Endeavours? Studio, Pallant House Gallery, open now until 19 April 2015.

This free exhibition in the Studio will show the collective and individual responses of the Creative Team - comprised of members of the Gallery’s community programme and led by artist Rachel Johnston - to historical material generated through the project and to work made in collaboration with patients and community groups.

It explores the impact of mental health issues on individuals and the tension between personal perceptions of mental health and those of the medical profession.

Graylingwell’s Living Voices: Memories and Reflections, West Sussex Record Office, open 14 April until 29 April 2015.

This free exhibition showcases the oral history element of the project.

Visitors will be able to hear many of the captured memories played on a specially produced Listening Turret.

There will also be printed snippets and some full transcripts available to read.

A display of original documents and photographs will illustrate the history of the hospital, together with new ones collected from interviewees during the course of the project.

The Graylingwell Heritage Project

The Graylingwell Heritage Project has been funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is a collaboration between the West Sussex Record Office, the University of Chichester’s History and Politics Department, Pallant House Gallery, and Chichester Community Development Trust.

The artwork at the Otter Gallery brings together over 400 images made by Pallant House Gallery’s Creative Team with staff, patients and community groups such as the CAPITAL Project Trust using a variety of techniques including cyanotype, printmaking and photography.

The piece combines historical material, personal memories and contemporary experiences of the hospital.

A final exciting outcome from the Graylingwell Heritage Project is the launch of a dynamic project publication at Graylingwell Chapel during the Graylingwell Heritage Project Showcase event on Friday 17 April.

Tickets to this all-day event are limited but information can be found at the project’s website www.graylingwellheritage.co.uk.

To find out more about the series of events visit the galleries’ websites at either www.chi.ac.uk/ottergallery, www.pallant.org.uk and www.westsussex.gov.uk.