Colour and Emotion exhibition explores colour as a visual language 

17/01/2018 00:00 
A new interdisciplinary art exhibition has launched at University College Hospital that explores the potential for colour as a visual language used to express emotion and features contributions from people with aphasia.
 

‘Colour & Emotion’ is an exhibition of visual artwork at UCH’s Street Gallery. It is one of the outcomes of an interdisciplinary and collaborative research project related to colour and emotion, ‘Measuring Wellbeing Creatively,’ which is funded by a UCL Grand Challenges: Human Wellbeing Award.

The interdisciplinary research team consists of Principal Investigator Dr Nuala Morse, UCL Culture; Co-Investigator Jo Volley, Slade School of Fine Art; artist-researcher Nir Segal, PhD candidate at the Slade; and Dr Michael Dean, a speech and language therapist in the Department of Language and Cognition (Division of Psychology and Language Sciences).

The team collaborated with volunteers who have acquired aphasia - an impairment which affects the ability to understand or produce language - after stroke. The team also includes a range of artists and a human geographer.

The broad aim of the project was to investigate the potential for colour to be used to establish a non-verbal approach to measuring human wellbeing: existing measures are typically language-based questionnaires or interviews and are thus not always accessible to people with communication difficulties.

UCLH arts curator Guy Noble said, "The arts have shown to have many positive benefits on patients, their carers and staff well-being and enable different perspectives on our own and other peoples' lives. This exhibition demonstrates that through engaging in a creative process new avenues of communication are opened. For patients with communication difficulties this is invaluable as it provides them with a tool to express their emotions and an aid to tell their story."

In a series of co-production workshops, the project team and volunteers explored how colour can create a visual language for expressing feelings and emotions. As a result, they designed a Colour & Emotion Toolkit and produced 5 prototypes. Accompanying the toolkit is a publication, the ‘Colour & Emotion Manual’, which provides instructions for its use.

The Colour & Emotion exhibition showcases the toolkit and research conducted during the workshops, and includes a number of works by the artists who contributed to the workshop.

The Colour & Emotion exhibition runs at the Street Gallery from 12th January to 21st February 2018.

Find out more about aphasia by watching the BBC documentary Speechless, which was filmed at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery.

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