Andrea Spencer

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Belfast City Hospital

I believe my role as an Arts Care Artist-in-Residence is to act as a catalyst, nurturing creativity and offering the opportunity for people to be involved in the creative process, even if only for a few minutes. Group projects focus on inclusion and personal achievement, allowing the opportunity for individuals to contribute to a whole. Working with such a broad range of people requires tailoring projects to cater for mixed abilities and needs. Within the context of healthcare the art-making process has many therapeutic benefits and can be used as a means of enjoyment, relaxation and social inclusion, offering a sense of purpose and creating meaningful artworks. Creating artworks within this environment, with the intention of publicly displaying them, presents many challenges. Practical requirements, restrictions and logistics which are often in direct conflict with the creative process have an unavoidable bearing on the outcome. However successful projects result in an artwork that epitomizes life, expressing humanity, spontaneity and allowing the voice of many individuals to sing out.

Biography

Andrea Spencer was born in Hertfordshire, England and received her BA (hons) from Edinburgh University in 1993, studying architectural glass under Ray Flavell and Douglas Hogg. She has held the post of Artist in residence for Arts Care with Belfast City Hospital since 2000 and works throughout the hospital complex facilitating a broad range of arts activities with staff, patients and the wider community. In 2004 she was selected to be an artist-in-residence at North Lands Creative Glass in Lybster, Scotland, and has since received several individual artist grants from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in support of her art work. Her work was exhibited in the British Glass Biennale in 2008 and 2010. She regularly exhibits her work in glass both in the UK and abroad. Her submission to the Royal Ulster Academy exhibition in 2008 was purchased by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for inclusion in its permanent collection. In addition, Andrea has executed many public art commissions in Northern Ireland that feature her innovative use of glass in architectural settings, including commissioned work for the New Downe Hospital, Bluestone, Lincoln Avenue Health Centre, Belfast City Hospital and others. In August 2009 she installed a major public sculpture for the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre.