How cultural experiences can improve health and wellbeing


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Last Saturday at 06:57 pm

Facing Out – Artist Residency

Facing Out is an art project that explores the impact of acquired facial disfigurement from head, face and neck cancers and their treatments. Lucy Burscough will be creating paintings in residence at the wonderful Maggie’s Centre Manchester, at The Christie Hospital and at Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

Maggie’s Manchester is a beautiful place with a beautiful ethos. With a very light touch it provides practical, emotional and social support to people who have cancer and their family and friends. Run by welcoming and knowledgeable staff together with a group of friendly volunteers, Maggie’s becomes a home from home for those people who are spending time at the neighbouring specialist cancer hospital, The Christie.

Maggie’s was designed by (Sir Norman) Foster and Partners and it’s award winning architecture offers visitors a calming, therapeutic environment which allows conversations to happen naturally and friendships to be formed within its communal spaces over a good cup of tea. The kettle is always on.  Maggie’s recognises the vital place that conversation holds in boosting well-being and promoting resilience when people are faced with illness, an understanding that is mirrored in the delivery of Facing Out, where painting is performance and conversation is key.

The paintings will be portraits of people who have facial disfigurements due to facial cancers. They will explore and illustrate the identities of the sitters beyond their role as ‘patient’ or ‘one who is disfigured’.

Lucy thinks that this project will raise some interesting questions about how we look at people:

“Facing Out will consider the gaze and the unique relationship with being looked at that exists for people with facial disfigurement. I am interested in the scrutiny of the portrait subject by the artist, the gaze of the painted subject to viewer, the act of viewing an artwork, and how these familiar actions are unsettled and subverted when the subject has a facial disfigurement that ‘politeness’ and sympathy dictate should not draw stares. ”


Lucy also said “Painting at Maggie’s Manchester and spending time with centre visitors, its volunteers and staff is a pleasure and a privilege.”

The project is a partnership between artist Lucy Burscough; Maggie’s Centre Manchester and their clients; Tim Blackburn, Consultant Oral Maxillo-Facial/Head & Neck/Facial Plastic Surgeon at Central Manchester NHSFT and his patients; The Christie Hospital; The Whitworth; Manchester Museum; medical anthropologist, Dr. Anne-Marie Martindale; and Manchester Science Festival. The paintings will be produced in public following Lucy’s model of art production as performance, delivered as a well-being activity with the intention of creating challenging and ambitious artworks and inspiring stimulating and enlightening conversation.

If you would like to find out more about Maggie’s or make a donation to help with their fantastic work, please visit their website.

Facing Out will be exhibited at The Whitworth in Manchester in early 2019 (22 February – 2 June 2019) with a special preview, Thursday 21 February, 6-9pm.

The evening will be a special evening of music, art and making to celebrate the launch of this exhibition.

You can sign up to be invited to the exhibition opening, receive blog posts via email or read more about the project at and you can read the Facing Out blog here.