Forth Valley Royal Hospital – a portrait in sound

The second programme in the ‘Bedside Radio’ series produced as part of a two-year period as digital artist in residence at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, Scotland.

This composed soundscape was created from recordings made in various hospital departments between 2011 and 2013. It includes insights and conversations with staff about their perception of the sound environment in which they work.

In addition to Forth Valley Royal, recordings were also made in Stirling and Falkirk Community Hospitals. Special thanks to all staff and patients in NHS Forth Valley Hospitals for their help and cooperation.
The sounds that make up this piece were recorded in the following departments:
Anaesthesiology, Clinical Simulation Centre, Health Records, Reception, Laboratories, Ophthalmology, Physiotherapy, Oral and Maxillofacial, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Mail Room, Neonatal Unit, Pharmacy, Renal Unit and Speech and Language Therapy Services.

Originally produced for the launch of Channel 604 (Radio Royal’s new arts channel) this piece has subsequently been performed as a live radiophonic work at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. A version has also been aired as an edition of ‘Framework:afield’ for Patrick McGinley’s Framework radio show.

This project was supported by Creative Scotland and NHS Forth Valley.

Deep Sleep Trawler

The third programme in the ‘Bedside Radio’ series originally produced for Radio Royal (NHS Forth Valley’s hospital radio network) as part of a two-year period as digital artist in residence at the hospital.

Interview recordings of recollected dreams by patients and staff were gathered with the intention of creating a database or ‘dream bank’ to provide sleep deprived hospital patients with the opportunity of sharing someone else’s dreams. In the end this collection of dreams was plundered to create a series of composed radio dreamscapes connecting the various themes identified within the interview material. Combined with atmospheric soundbeds created from processed electronic sounds and field recordings the effect is a sort of non-narrative radio play where dream logic rules. The piece is, in part, a homage to Barry Bermange and Delia Derbyshire’s 1964 radio work, ‘Inventions for Radio: Dreams’.

Also included are readings of extracts from the dream diaries of artist, shamen and dream interpreter, Kate Walters, interviews made by Radio Royal volunteers and interviews with members of the FDAMH arts and media group.

Following the initial broadcast on the hospital’s patient monitor system this piece has also aired on Resonance 104.4FM, Soundart Radio. A new version was created specially for Radio Cona in 2017.

This project was supported by Creative Scotland and NHS Forth Valley.

Image courtesy of ‘A Sense of Someplace’

The Tonic Garden:

a sonic survey of soothing sounds

Produced by Mark Vernon and Ian Middleton

The Tonic Garden was the first programme in the ‘Bedside Radio’ series produced by Mark Vernon for hospital radio station, Radio Royal. It was created as part of a two-year digital arts residency at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Larbert, Scotland.

This programme was designed as an ambient radio artwork, a peripheral listening experience created with patients suffering from insomnia or tinnitus in mind. Keenly aware of the difficulties of sleeping in the unfamiliar and often noisy environment of a busy hospital the focus was on providing patients with some form of escape. It was made for a situation in which a kind of unfocussed, undemanding form of listening is expected and the non-linear, non- narrative format is a reflection of this. Listeners can drop in and out at any point and pick up listening again at another time. The voice interviews were initially intended just as research in this survey of soothing sounds but the descriptions and reasoning behind the choices ended up becoming an intrinsic part of the work itself. Field recordings and bespoke music are combined with voices to create an illustrated aural survey polling the sounds that were found to be the most relaxing.

The Tonic Garden reflects the range of sounds suggested by staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Radio Royal volunteers, the FDAMH media group and the public at large and features original music and field recordings created by Mark Vernon and Ian Middleton.

The programme was first broadcast on a continuous loop over the patient’s bedside monitor system at Forth Valley Royal for a two-week period in 2013. It has since been aired in full on Soundart Radio, Resonance FM and Basic FM and was featured as a two-part edition of Framework:afield.

This project was supported by Creative Scotland and NHS Forth Valley