Our very first Healthy Spaces project, Wild Song at
Dawn is permanently installed at Alder Hey, one of Europe's biggest
and busiest children's hospitals, providing care for more than
200,000 children and young people each year.
Award-winning sound recordist Chris Watson was commissioned to create an artwork for the hospital corridors. Working with hospital staff, patients and the FACT team, Chris produced the audio-visual installation Wild Song at Dawn, which brought the therapeutic sounds of the dawn chorus from nearby Springfield Park inside the hospital.
On visiting Alder Hey for the first time, Chris was struck by how the patients and Staff could see Springfield park from their hospital windows but not hear the bird some emanating form it. He proposed Wild Song at Dawn to transport the outside environment inside, to capture the dawn chorus and release it within the hospital.
On 16 and 17 May 2007, Chris spent evenings and early mornings in the park recording detailed aspects of its birdsong. During recording Chris was joined by patients, staff and local students to capture the birdsong in this urban park. Children became Chris's collaborators and professional wild life recordists, recording the rich array of urban birdsong with support of family and carers.
Wild Song at Dawn has been so successful in reducing stress among young patients going into surgery that Alder Hey is now planning a piece of research into its effect on those receiving injections. Evidence suggests the artworks in new health centres and hospitals across Liverpool have made a real difference to the experience of both staff and patients, and FACT is currently looking at possible research partnerships to further understand the impact of this work.