Glenside Hospital Museum: Re-envisaging the padded cell

Allison Schooler shares how her time on the Patient Artwork Project at Glenside Hospital Museum saw her rethink both herself as an artist and her preconceptions of padded cells.

During the course at GHM I was challenged by my own status as an artist and have come to accept that I am an artist thanks to the Exploring Collections course. I paint with photo editing as a means of expressing how I perceive the world around me and as a transformatory mechanism to change an otherwise dull item into an object of art.

I had preconceived the padded cell to be a barbaric space until I learnt of the protective kindness of the space during the Exploring Collections course at Glenside Hospital Museum.

The padded cell always captured my attention and I have tried to reinvisage it at night time as a comforting space to the patient.


Imagining the padded cell by nightlight I saw the sea in the waves of the padding. I wondered if the patients saw the same.

Window Out, Window In,
Did the window out provide some comfort for the patient and who could look in? These were my thoughts in preparing this piece

Beneath the Window
Imagining a patient in bed within the padded cell and their view at night time from a lower position. Did the cell appear more friendly at night was my question in developing this piece

4 Comments about this

  1. Stella Man

    Thoughtful and thought provoking. The grey padded cell has been brought to life.

    Reply moderated
  2. Katherine Austin

    Revealing, you challenge the common perceptions/attitudes we may not even realise we have.

    Reply moderated
  3. Susan Mateos

    Thank-you for sharing a different way of seeing things.

    Susan Mateos 19th April 2021

    Reply moderated
  4. Ali McAllister

    Phenomenal and thought provoking images, Ally. Seascape renders the freedom that lies in the mind even when the being is surrounded by walls.

    Reply moderated

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