Khaled Elsamman Ahmed
Art, Heritage and well-being

Europe has a long history of using art as a catalyst for healing in its hospitals (Cork 2012). The research project looks at how hospitals, as public spaces, use and relates to art and cultural heritage, and how they are associated with the local population, ideas and concepts of the importance of art for well-being.

The research also investigates how the aesthetic expression and how visitors (staff, patients, relatives, etc.) experience the environment and interact with art in a hospital environment. The project investigates how art (in a broader sense) is perceived and experienced in a hospital context and how di erent kinds of cultural heritage are used and embedded within di erent kinds of artwork as well as the motives that contribute to the curative and artistic decisions. The research considers both the artistic values as perceived by di erent actors and the creative and curative decisions made in relation to art in a hospital setting.

The empirical part of the research takes place at Angereds Närsjukhus hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, through ethnographic fieldwork consisting of participant observations and interviews. The research is specifically examining how the artistic values and qualities are understood, appreciated and how they a ect people’s feelings and experiences as well as the motives behind the choice of art.

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The project examines four types of materials/ data which together form the basis for the analysis and the results that the project will o er. The first type of material consists of policy documents, which typically are created through a political process, and will be analyzed using some of the established qualitative research methods (e.g. Bowen, 2009). The second type consists of interviews with Angereds Närsjukhus staff, where questions about the importance of art for well-being are explored. The third type consists of observations made by the researcher in Angereds Närsjukhus environment; partly by the aesthetic aspect and art of the hospital context through an aesthetic analysis, and partly by observing people’s interaction with the space and the art. The fourth type of material consists of semi-structured interviews with people who are in Angereds Närsjukhus environment and who are patients or other types of visitors (friends, relatives). These data will form the basis for a critical analysis of how the use of art and cultural heritage in a hospital environment works and is reciprocated.

Khaled Elsamman Ahmed

I am a heritage professional and scholar who believes that heritage can make people’s life better. I was born in Cairo, Egypt, and now I am based in Gothenburg, Sweden where I am conducting research on heritage and wellbeing as part of the Critical Heritage Europe (CHEurope). I have a bachelor’s degree in heritage interpretation from Ain Shams University of Cairo. During my undergrad studies, I used to volunteer to provide tours at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for its visitors. After graduation, I worked as an independent tour guide while expanding the volunteer work to include heritage sites as well as museums. In 2014, I moved to the UK to obtain a master’s degree in international cultural heritage management from Durham University. Beside studying, I had various extracurricular activities. I taught about ancient Egypt in Church of England aided primary schools in Durham county. Living in Durham city showed me how heritage, represented in Durham Cathedral, can be a contributing factor in making everyday life better for individuals and the community. I moved back to Egypt right after I finished my master’s studies, where I resumed volunteering to organise tours to museums and heritage sites, but with a more focused approach on the relationship between heritage and individuals. I also worked as a staff writer in a heritage publication that focuses on Egyptian heritage.