Making Art for Making Place

The Effect of Visual Art in a Transitional Care Environment

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Alison Phinney, PhD, UBC School of Nursing


Michael Wilson, Senior Facilities Planning Leader, Fraser Health Authority
Landon Mackenzie, Professor, Emily Carr University of Art and Design


Shelley Canning, PhD student, School of Nursing, UBC
Lillian Hung, PhD student, School of Nursing, UBC
Alison Shields, PhD student, Department of Curriculum Studies, UBC

Hampton Research Fund


This interdisciplinary study brings together a team of practitioners and researchers in the fields of healthcare facility design, gerontological nursing, and art education. We are using walk-along interviews, focus groups and observation to explore how visual art that has been purposively created for a health care environment can benefit older patients by providing them a sense of meaningful place, while simultaneously understanding the transformative potential for students engaged in the creation of this art. This is a novel study taking an inventive approach to better understand the important role of visual arts in the built environment as a contributor to healing and wellness for older people.

The authors discuss this study in the Globe and Mail