The Outpost is an arbiter for perspective: in the face of isolation, it stands for solitariness; in the depths of loneliness it offers solitude. It symbolises the support that NHS staff have given to others during the pandemic, and it acknowledges the people, places, and practices that helped staff in turn.
It archives the messages of loss, resilience, and hope they documented during the ‘Postcards and Playlists’ workshops we ran in February. It is a tribute to their strength and courage as frontline healthcare workers, and to the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, and friends they are at home.
This sculpture and programme of art workshops and packs was funded by NHS Grampian Endowment Fund. An incredible cross section of NHS staff took part from nurses, doctors, surgeons, Covid vaccinators, dieticians, administrators, healthcare workers to psychologists and occupational therapists.
The Light (top) – the view north: constellations as they were in June 2021, the new moon
‘Travel’ – Where we went: the holidays we want to take, the places we want to go, and the destinations we travelled to in our imaginations
‘Books’ – Where we escaped to: the books we read, the daydreaming we did, the adventures we took
‘Collage Poem’ – The Stories We Told: collaged poem of words gathered from NHSStaff
‘Playlists’ – What we listened to: Friday night kitchen parties, songs about ﬁsh, and the music and sounds that comforted us
‘Inside’ – What we called home: “things that helped us,” the comforting and familiar
– our morning coffee and favourite biscuit
‘Outside’ – Where we found nature: the birds that came calling, the walks we took, the seeds we sewed, the seasons that passed
Neal Macdonald (artist), Donna McCracken (artist), and Emily Utter (writer) work together on Grampian Hospital Arts Trust’s ‘Artroom’ project at Aberdeen’s specialist palliative care hospital, Roxburghe House.