Patient Jemma and her mum, creating artwork during a bedside visit. Image: Mark ZimmermanArtist in Residence

Princess Margaret Hospital, Subiaco, Western Australia

  • Client: Princess Margaret Hospital
  • Stakeholders and partners: Little Athletics, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, The Starlight Foundation
  • Role of Artsource: Residency Consultant
  • Artist: Sarah Toohey
  • Outcome: Three month residency and exhibition
  • Residency budget: $8,800 (plus exhibition budget)
  • Completion date: June 2012


In an innovative project initiated by Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and facilitated by Artsource, textile artist Sarah Toohey completed a three month residency at PMH, running workshops within the children’s wards and from a studio space set up inside a teenager only activity space in the hospital.

The approach effectively enhanced the wellbeing of the patients’ time at PMH and had unanticipated additional benefits of encouraging interaction between patients and providing a much needed diversion for patients’ family members. Bedridden children were provided a positive distraction from hospital life as well as the opportunity to participate, learn new skills, express themselves and  be affirmed by having a selection of their work displayed in an exhibition at the PMH art gallery.

The Artist in Residence Program (AIR) included cooperative art workshops and one-on-one learning in fabric and stitch work using layering and mola techniques. The materials have a strong presence, but also allowed the imagination free reign. PMH acquired a large work completed by Toohey during her residency which now hangs in the hospital lobby to enhance and brighten the hospital environment and speaks of the positive outcomes of the program.