The longer the project continues, the harder it becomes to offer simple guidance on how to display the poems. People keep finding new ways and sharing new ideas. Further, as IT becomes more and more the norm, the screen becomes as valid a place for the display of these poems as the page.
Here are notes written some while ago, on the basis of soundings we made after the first three or four years.
It helps to have an allocated person at each site willing and positively interested to take charge of the poem collection and push for its creative use.
There are a large number of poems in the collection and this number will keep growing. The extensive range allows for choice and also for rotation. Rotation is recommended, for it keeps the poems fresh for frequent visitors and also for staff (who do, after all, spend more hours in the same building than most patients do, and will serve better if nurtured properly). But who will remember to change the poems over from time to time ? Another reason for allocating an enthusiast.
In most cases this person will tend to be a Receptionist or Adminisrtrator. But not always. The important criteria are that the person should have a real interest in the idea, and a work schedule that is not so frantic that the poem rotation gets forgotten.
Workers often have exciting ideas of their own for how to use the poems and where to display them - in staff sitting rooms (even the staff toilets !), in children’s clinics, in lifts, on the sitting room walls of old people’s homes, even the sitting room walls of clients’ own homes.
Here are some ways of displaying the poems that have been tried out successfully in various sites:
- The poems are magnified to A3 size and displayed in picture frames bought for the purpose. They are changed over every month or so.
- The A4 poems are laminated and put up on the wall or on notice-boards or in display cabinets, in clusters of four or five at a time to attract attention and provide some variety ; these too are replaced every month or so.
- Individual A4 poems are put in angled perspex display frames that stand on tables in the waiting room.
- The whole collection of A4 poems is put together in ring-binder files and left in the waiting room for patients to leaf through.
- The poems are copied onto the organisation’s screensaver so that staff too can benefit from them. A rotation of them can be displayed digitally onscreen.
- The poems are projected onto the waiting room wall, a new poem displayed every few minutes !
- Individual poems are silk-screened permanently onto suitable wall areas.
Now we are able to offer all the poems as pdf attachments for downloading. The danger here is that paper quality will suffer. But one of the positives is that sites will be able to commission local printers to enlarge selected poems and make them a major feature. Later in 2008 the pdf versions of the poems available on this site will be capable of significant enlargement (and we shall announce that development when it comes) The Foreign Office displayed its EU Enlargement bilingual poems printed to AO size on special boards in the Durbar Room in King Charles Street during an FO Open Day in the Spring of 2004. Thousands studied the poems as they toured the building. Since 2005, ten bilingual poems have been on permanent display in the Acad Building of the Central Middlesex Hospital. These are A1 size and in light but strong Perspex frames.
Thinking of hospitals, I would like finally to list certain place where a poem on display might be welcome :
- an X-ray changing cubicle, or waiting area for people hanging on for their X-ray results to come through
- the wall beside the lift door, or in the lift itself.
- the space on the wall above the photocopying machine.
- the walls of staff offices, perhaps above the kettle....