Description of Department/Service

The National Centre for Arts and Health

The National Centre for Arts and Health (NCAH), exists to improve patient care and to promote the benefits of the arts in health. Situated in TUH the Centre runs an Art programme which is free for everyone attending the Hospital. The NCAH is positioned within the Nursing Directorate under Aine Lynch as Director of Nursing. All art programmes are tailored to the needs of individual patients and clinical departments. The Hospital arts programme features a number of national innovations and strives to promote best practice in arts and health, through professional development, evaluation and research. The centre also offers consultation and advice to services establishing arts and health programmes and regularly gives presentations on its work, within both medical and arts settings.

A four year review the Arts Programme at TUH (including CHI at Tallaght), featuring the work of patients, staff, visitors and artists through the many diverse Arts and Health Projects, Initiatives, Commissions and Exhibitions including powerful examples of best practice in Creative Arts Therapies can be accessed via this link

We aim to:

  • Improve the hospital experience for patients
  • Explore the therapeutic potential of the arts
  • Build positive links with the local community
  • Make the arts accessible to patients who cannot access traditional arts venues

The current arts programme includes:

  • Exhibitions
  • Live performances
  • Creative writing classes
  • Design projects
  • Arts Therapies
  • Participatory art sessions on wards and in waiting rooms
  • Community arts and health projects
  • Composer and Orchestra in residence
  • Art Therapy for children with diabetes and cystic fibrosis
  • Create-While-You-Wait art programmes for children in A&E and OPD
  • Music for babies and parents and music therapy in Age Related Health Care
  • Artists training and Medical Humanities programmes

National Centre for Arts and Health – a little history

Over the last decade, the Arts Programme at Tallaght University Hospital has evolved to provide not only a substantial arts and health programme but also national leadership in academic and practical development of this important aspect of health. The programme has received constant support from the Volunteer Coffee Shop Fund, as a programme which accesses all areas and all specialties within the hospital. In addition, the three hospital foundations (the Adelaide Health Foundation, the Meath Foundation and the National Children’s Hospital Foundation) have been very supportive of a wide range of arts and health projects.

The programme, now encompassed as the National Centre for Arts and Health, has engaged in collaboration with major cultural institutions in the State, including the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Irish Film Institute and various artist and ensembles.  Previously, for example, we had an Arts Council funded composer-in-residence in the Stroke Service, Ian Wilson.

Novel programmes have generated a volume of poetry by the patients, exhibitions at local galleries of art by patients – including the ARThritis programme and exhibitions, including one at the local community gallery, Rua Red. Of particular importance has been the development of an academic track, with the first papers on arts and health from any Irish hospital published in the biomedical literature, as well as the development of a course to train artists to work in a healthcare environment. NUI Maynooth are now delivering the first accredited post graduate certificate in Arts and Health in partnership with the National Centre for Arts and Health.

Volunteering in the Hospital Arts Programme

The National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght University Hospital is always seeking volunteer artists to participate in the exciting art programme for patients in the Hospital. The programme involves volunteer artists spending two hours per week with patients on selected wards. Visual artists use a ‘Mobile Art Trolley’ stocked with art materials and we welcome artists from all art forms, especially visual art, music and creative writing. Artists invite patients to express themselves using the art materials by their bedside and support and encourage patients to engage in arts. Patients are offered the opportunity to create, but a refusal to engage will always be respected. Volunteer artists are supported by the Director of Arts and Health. The Clinical areas in which the artist would be offered work include Age Related Health Care, Renal Dialysis and Neurology (all adult patients) and with children in the National Children’s Hospital (N.B. subject to Garda clearance and suitable references).

A Call for Volunteer Artists

Click on the link below to find out more information about:

  • Who we run our Programme for
  • Who we run our Programme with
  • What we ask of our Volunteer Artists
  • What we offer our Volunteer Artists

Call for Volunteer Artists.pdf (size 535.5 KB)

To apply for a volunteer artist position download the attached Volunteer Registration Pack and the Garda Vetting Form and Post/Email them back to:  Programme Manager, National Centre for Arts & Health, Tallaght University Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24 D24 NR0A . Email:

Download | Volunteer registration pack Volunteer registration pack.pdf (size 196.2 KB)
Download | Garda Vetting Form Garda Vetting Form - May 2015.pdf (size 150.6 KB)