Under an artificial sun: a practice-based approach to exploring the effects of childhood hospitalisation at Stannington Sanatorium

Year of award: 2018


  • Deborah Ballin

    Leeds Arts University

Project summary

Most children hospitalised with tuberculosis were from working-class backgrounds and lived in extreme poverty. In addition to medical treatment, hospitalisation included less well-documented developmental experiences. 

I will investigate connections between archival material about the Stannington Children’s Sanatorium from the Northumberland Archives and contemporary debates about isolation, resilience, creativity and boredom in child development. The medical and social aspects of hospitalisation at Stannington Children’s Sanatorium are well documented. I will build on this body of work to create a more textured understanding of the experience of major illness. I will uncover stories of the emotional legacy of hospitalisation and examine experiences these children may not otherwise have had to see how hospitalisation may have shaped their adult lives. 

My research will inform a multidisciplinary work combining audio testimony, writing and archival material. Creative methodologies will be used to tell layered stories about hospitalisation in childhood to enrich our understanding of this experience.