History and Present – Lennox Castle Stories
In 2012 C-Change and the inclusive arts organisation Project Ability worked on the Lennox Castle Stories project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Prompted by the 10 year anniversary of the closure of the hospital, it also marked 10 Years of C-Change supporting people who had moved out of various hospitals into their own homes.
The project sought to capture the real-life stories of people who had lived in the hospital and their families and those who had worked there too. Most of the people who took part were former residents, some of whom had spent almost all their lives in the hospital, many since childhood.
One of the highlights was people had re-connected with others they had lost contact with after moving on from the hospital. It was a safe space to talk about their experiences and tell their stories in the form of art, animation, and video.
An exhibition of artwork, photographs, and a short film from the Lennox Castle Stories project took place at Trongate 103 public exhibition space in October 2012, and Mitchell Library in Glasgow in December 2012.
Living in the institution meant limited opportunities for loving relationships, meaningful employment, further education and many of the other freedoms and rights almost everyone else in society enjoys. We hoped that the days of institutional living were a thing of the past, that the project was recording a dark period of history and that the future would be brighter.
Another ten years on, in 2022, the picture is not so clear. Institutional living is not a thing of the past for too many of our fellow citizens who are currently living in hospitals and out of area placements or spending years on end in Assessment and Treatment Units. Having a learning disability is not a health condition, being autistic is not something that needs to be treated. Our societal response is inappropriate and shameful.
It is often said, you must know the past to understand the present, and you need to learn the lessons from the past so as not to make the same mistakes again. We have no excuse, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UNCRPD, provides clear guidance about how to do better.
In Scotland we have years of experience delivering convention compliant support. Individuals and families know what needs to be in place for them to live a good life.
Everyone is entitled to dignity and respect and the opportunity to flourish. We know our history; we understand the challenges of the present and we know how to do better. There are no excuses.
Lennox Castle Stories Project Videos (via YouTube)
Patients hidden away for years at Lennox Castle mental hospital turn to art to heal wounds
The shameful legacy of the Lennox Castle hospital
The shameful legacy of the former Lennox Castle Hospital. Video via YouTube:
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